WONG CHU KING FEEDS PAYATAS CHILDREN

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The Wong Chu King Foundation (WCKF), a philanthropic non-government organization providing assistance to poor and underprivileged sectors, entered into an agreement to fund the feeding of malnourished children from poor families residing at the garbage dumpsite in Barangay Payatas, Quezon City.

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The funding, in partnership with the University of the Philippines Law Class of 1978, will go to a feeding center of Payatas Orione Foundation Inc. (Paofi), a philanthropic non-government organization implementing health, nutrition and education programs for children and tuberculosis patients from poor families in Payatas and in Lucena City and Mauban, Quezon.

Under the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Paofi, WCKF and the UP Law Class of 1978 will provide one nutritious meal per day for one year for 75 children of one of Paofi feeding centers in Payatas.

The meal includes a therapeutic food supplement initially provided only to malnourished tuberculosis patients but later found to be effective for malnourished children of poor families.

The supplement, which can be spread on bread or mixed with rice, consists of peanut butter paste, coconut oil, soya, micronutrients, multivitamins, sugar and powdered milk.

Signing the MOA at formal ceremonies held recently at the WCKF office on Sultana Street in Makati City were James Vincent Navarette, WCKF general manager; Fr. Martin Mroz, Paofi executive director; and Atty. Antonio Ocampo, representative of UP Law Class of 1978.

“Paofi’s program aims to ensure that the children each achieve their normal weight within a year from enrolling in the program,” said Mroz, an Argentine priest.

“The foundation specifically aims to establish an average weight gain of two kilos above the normal level of nourishment for each child and impart knowledge to participating parents in the preparation of nutritious and balanced food,” Mroz added.

The program to be administered by Paofi will run a total of 240 days a year, five days a week, from Monday to Friday. Enrollees are required to undergo deworming before taking part in the program.

Once a month, a volunteer nurse will record the weight and height of each child. At the end of the year, the feeding center staff will discuss the progress of each child with the parents.

Children who have not reached the desired weight will be required to stay on the program for another year or until they do. Children who achieve the desired weight graduate from the program and are replaced by new program enrollees.

“The supplement was first used in Malawi, in southeast Africa, and has been used in the Philippines for three years,” Mroz said. “This has become possible here because the machine used for making the food was donated to us from the US. A manufacturing facility was set up for this purpose in Barangay Fairview, Quezon City.”

The priest described WCKF support as “timely” and explained that Paofi used to receive support from Spain and other European countries but the eurozone crisis had put a stop to this.

Navarette said WCKF was exploring other ways to help Paofi other than through its feeding program. “With our network, we can help provide additional assistance. When I saw Payatas, I thought that was the worst, but I have seen Paofi areas in Quezon that are even worse than that.”

Paofi maintains two clinics for tuberculosis patients; 11 feeding centers for malnourished children, including eight in Payatas and three in the Badjao settlement in Barangay Dalahican and Talao-Talao in Lucena City, Quezon; and a number of learning centers.

It is directly or indirectly serving more than 50,000 beneficiaries in Barangay Payatas, Lucena City and Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon, including 500 children in feeding centers; 500 scholars in elementary, high school and college; 600 tuberculosis patients and 8,000 walk-in patients.

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