Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fresh supply of milk for Tembari kids

A Friend of Tembari Children

A DAY after I posted a blog appealing for milk donation to the Tembari children, a popular supermarket in Port Moresby immediately responded with the good news.

The store, which is part of a supermarket chain across the country, said it will provide the children with 10 cartons of fresh milk (40 125ml packs) every month, starting September.

This is a big relief on our part in terms of meeting the children’s daily milk requirement.

Since there are at present 97 of them being looked after at The Center, the new milk supply would be good for four feeding days.

With milk as a major part in the daily diet of these kids, it has become our biggest expense every week since we started the milk program last March.

A modest grant from the British High Commission in Port Moresby has enabled us up to now to buy the children fresh milk at a cost of K1,200 a month, or an average of K300 a week. The weekly buying covers at least 79 one-liter packs, or 6.5 cartons (12.5 dozens).

The milk is consumed by our children every after meal, from Monday to Friday, with four kids sharing a one-liter pack.

On the other hand, the milk that we serve on Saturday is paid for by a top executive at RH Group, who also provides the children with a monthly supply of rice.

This is on top of another batch of rice being sent to The Center every month by a lady expatriate-executive. So in short, we are sufficient with rice.

My new appeal for milk donation has become quite urgent as the monthly aid from the British High Commission will come to an end towards the final week of October.

It could be recalled that last March, the British High Com held a fundraising fun-run and all the kina raised from it went towards the benefit of the Tembari children – in the form of milk funding.

Once it’s over, The Center would no longer be able to provide the children milk every day, except on Saturday, as the regular supply from the RH Group exec goes on.

A few days ago, I relayed my concern to Suzanne Laister, executive assistant to the British High Commissioner.

However, she told me not to worry as they are looking at ways to initiate new fund raisers so the daily milk drinking would not be interrupted. She hopes they could really raise new funds once more.

Meanwhile, even with the coming of fresh supply from the supermarket, I still have to look for more donors to fill the gap after its (supermarket) supply for the month has been consumed.

With 97 kids gulping this liquid food every day, every after dinner, the 10 cartons of milk from our friend supermarket could last only for four days.

So my job as donor-coordinator does not really end here; there are still 16 feeding days to work on.

Simply said, the supermarket is providing the children with a four-day supply of flavored milk, and the RH Group exec is also supplying milk good for four Saturdays of the month, for a total of eight milk-feeding days.

We have a total of 24 feeding days in a month – Monday to Saturday. Our donors’ combined milk supply covers eight (feeding days), thus leaving 16 days milkless.

So this time, this would be my goal: To find sponsors who would cover as many days as they could of the remaining 16 dry days.

I can understand why other facilities similar to the Tembari Children Care (TCC) center have been unable to sustain their respective daily feeding programs.

They just don’t have the sustained support from benefactors like the ones we have right now.

While they just wait for donors to find them, I go out of my way, marketing the future of the Tembari children to potential supporters, donors and to those who are looking for opportunities to help.

As a self-appointed donor-chaser for the Tembari children, I could feel some pride in being able to bring together generous supporters who believe in putting up stakes in the future of these children.

But chasing food donors appears to be an endless task for me.

You know why? The kids are growing everyday; they need food everyday to sustain their growing-up.

I have to encourage our expanding circle of supporters to keep the foodstuff flowing in while profusely thanking them for the willingness they have to bleed some more for the sake of our kids.

With sustained nutrition, there’s no reason for our children not to gain weight, grow tall and grow smart.

And what’s more, they are also gaining self-confidence, something they never had when they were in the streets as they desperately looked for food -- and home.

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