Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tembari kids urgently need biscuits

A Friend of Tembari Children

DURING the past several weeks, biscuits have become a major part of our preschool children’s diet especially at noon.

This is because we have changed the format of our feeding program.

Before, we served them a lunch of rice, veggies and tinned fish, cordial drink and fresh milk.

This meal is now being served as early dinner (4-5pm) for our preschoolers along with the bigger children who attend classes in 11 elementary schools in Port Moresby.

These days, we serve our 45 preschoolers biscuits shortly after finishing their morning classes by noontime. We call it lunch snacks of biscuits and cordial drink.

Each kid is usually served a pack of three-piece biscuit, something that is quite heavy in their tummy and enough to last them till the next meal – early dinner – is served.

This means, we have to buy 45 packs of three-piece biscuits everyday. If the food is low in supply, they would be served only two pieces of biscuit each.

And at a cost of about one kina per pack (it’s the cheaper variety), this amounts to K45 a day. Again, just like the daily cordial drink expense, it’s difficult for us to sustain this affair.

But it is a must for the children to have biscuit snacks after morning classes, or else they’d be famished while waiting for early dinner.

You may ask why shifted the rice meal to early dinner.

I tell you. Our children at various schools in the city would start coming home to The Center at round 2pm. By about 3pm all of them --- some 42 schoolchildren – would be home and are tired and hungry for food.

They don’t go home yet. They come straight to The Center because they know food is waiting for them. At home, they could expect nothing.

Together with our preschoolers who had their noontime biscuit snacks, the older children will have their dinner, after which they go home.

Now here is the story: The early dinner would serve as their food overnight till they return the next morning to classes at The Center and to those in city schools.

This is because when they go home to their guardian-parents (remember, they are orphans, abandoned and so on …) they expect no food in the house at dinner, as their guardians are also hard-up to be able to afford to buy food for the night.

Thus, the early dinner of rice and tinned fish.

Giving our beneficiary children two meals a day – noontime biscuit snacks and early dinner – is quite an achievement as far as The Center is concerned.

This is not being done in most facilities that conduct feeding program. Many of them are unable to sustain for lack of food to give their wards, and for lack of support. Or maybe, even if they have money for feeding, it is not being spent as intended by their donors.

Twice-a-day feeding has been going on at The Center, thanks to our generous benefactors who have seen the needs of our children.

But the biscuit issue is quite new and it is only in this space I am informing our supporters that we have pressing concern that greatly affects our preschool children.

Biscuits keep the children up till the next meal at early dinner is served.

We need some help on this one.

Please send our preschoolers the biscuits that would go down with their cordial drinks.

It is food they could hardly afford to miss after classes.

Meantime, we really have to struggle with our modest funding just to feed them adequately everyday.

Toddlers wash their hands just before they are served lunch last Saturday.

Some packs of fresh milk being readied for serving to the kids after their lunch on Saturday. The daily milk of the children is being paid for by two benefactors

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