Food Program at Buyong Elementary School
The Buyong Support Program, with the help of the American School in Japan Philippine Relief Organization, started a food program at the Buyong Elementary School in 1986. Since its inception, the Food Program has distributed more than two and a half million meals!
The cost to feed 700 children is approximately $30 USD a day. If you would like to contribute to the program, please click here.
Preparing food for the daily morning feeding.
Saying grace before the meal.
Mrs. Brenda Igot, the grade six teacher, prepares daily meals using UNICEF recipes for malnourished children. During the first years of the program the school saw daily attendance improve and a reduction in the number of malnourished students. Village parents were delighted with the school feeding.
A selected group of students help Mrs. Igot prepare and serve the daily meal. Mrs. Igot shops for fresh vegetables, fruit and meat daily. With her helper she starts preparing the meal at 7:30 AM by building wooden fires in the outdoor cooking area. They wash, chop and mix all the ingredients in large cauldrons. By 9:45 the food is ready to be served and students deliver a large pot to each of the thirteen classrooms. The morning recess from 9:45 AM to 10:15 AM is feeding time. Each class has the responsibility for serving food and washing their bowls and utensils afterwards.
The menu varies, but usually includes either binignit (a hot fruit and vegetable dish that includes coconut, banana and camote), a stew with chicken, vegetables and rice, or noodles with vegetables. Three Buyong teachers, Liliosa Soliano (Grade 5), Evelyn Cabanisas (Grade 2) and Brenda Igot (Grade 6) have volunteered their time to ensure the success of the program.
This is the most nutritious meal of the day for many of the students. The Philippine Department of Education, Culture and Sports and Congresswoman Nerissa-Soon Ruiz have recognized this as a model program. Buyong Elementary School is the only school in the Philippines to offer a free lunch to every student.
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