Caring for their precious children is the top priority and responsibility of Filipino parents. However, not all are able to meet their children’s needs. Besides safe play and quality education, children from poor families are often bereft of basic essentials, the most overlooked of which is proper nourishment during their development stage.
According to studies, for lack of nutrients these children grow up vulnerable to diseases, hunger, and malnourishment and thus suffer impaired learning abilities in their school-age years and throughout adult life.
Moved by this growing need to eradicate hunger and its adverse impacts, the City of Malabon led by Mayor Antolin “Len” Oreta 3rd and wife Melissa in cooperation with the City Nutrition Office launched the “90-Day Feeding Program” in four areas of Barangay Catmon.
The pilot initiative involved 102 children aged one to four who have been identified and classified as underweight and severely underweight by the City Health Department.
Throughout the period, the children were provided nutritious meals and were taught proper hygiene practices by the Barangay Nutrition Scholars, a volunteer group composed of the city’s health workers, barangay leaders, and volunteer-mothers.
One mother, Dyanna Apolinario, whose 29-month-old son John Brixel Amor was among the beneficiaries of the program, was brought to tears when she finally received the graduation certificate. Baby John was named the top weight gainer during the program’s graduation ceremony held in December at the Catmon Covered Court.
The other two most improved awardees were Kent Picao (37-months-old) and Rejan Gemina Abanag (15-months-old).
“We’ve seen success in both measurable and immeasurable ways. For the kids, they have gained the age-appropriate ideal weight after graduation. For the mothers, this means making better, healthier choices for themselves and what they can serve at the table for their families,” Mayor Oreta said thanking his chef wife who conceptualized the feeding initiative as well as designed the program’s recipe and cooking techniques component.