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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Menu for Hope and the World Food Program


Last year's Menu for Hope raised over $90K.  In case you're wondering about what happened to that money, here's a little report from the World Food Program.

WfplogosmallIt bought 388,000 meals in Lesotho schools, which fed over 19,000 poor hungry children with school meals for a whole month.  The children received food in primary schools across the remote mountainous areas of Lesotho, which are the poorest and hungriest parts of the country. 

Some of the money was used to buy food from local small scale farmers practicing sustainable farming methods in remote areas, providing them with guaranteed market for their products.  In 2007, the WFP bought 8 tons of maize from local farmers.  In 2008, with the funds from Menu for Hope 4, we bought 36 tons of maize from small scale farmers, four times as much as the year before.  This increase is very important, as showing the promise of a reliable market encourages farmers to invest more on their farms and in turn produce more.


This buy-local initiative is a win all around, for the farmers, for the children and the WFP, since it costs around $150 less overall per ton to buy from the local small scale farmers in Lesotho than buying and transporting the food in from abroad to the remote areas of the country.  This is also a win for the environment, as it uses a lot less fuel in transport.

Why should we continue our support for this program?


Because it is making a difference, and we hope to continue to make a difference in more lives each year.  The promise of at least one nutritious meal each day attracts children to school.  WFP's research has shown that it boosts enrollment, promotes regular attendance, and enhances student performance, since hungry children are distracted and have trouble concentrating on lessons.  A food incentive helps convince parents that they can afford to allow their children to go and to stay in school.  This simple strategy can double primary school enrolment in one year.


School lunch programs also have a huge impact on the enrollment of girls.  In Africa, this is critical since each year of a mother's schooling results in a 5-10 percent decrease in the mortality rate of her children.  WFP estimates that there are approximately 100 million primary schoolchildren in Africa not attending school, and two out of three of them are girls.  The promise of food at school encourages parents to send girls, who would otherwise be kept at home to help with chores and farm work.  In some areas, WFP provides take-home rations for girls, which give parents an even bigger incentive to send their daughters to school, which has positive effects for them and their families. 

The gigantic downturn in the economy worldwide has resulted in a dramatic decrease in corporate and governmental donations to an organization like the WFP, that's why it's even more important for individual donors, whose $10, $20, or $30 dollars may not be such a big hit on their pocketbook, but eventually all add up to a huge sum.

So, please don't hesitate to give, even if you could only spare $10--that's already ten more dollars than was there before.

Check out the full list of prizes and make your donation today on Menu for Hope.  Good luck on the raffle!  If you want to see the prizes local to your area, check out the regional host blogs which list the prizes from their local region:

Europe *including* the UK
Sara of Ms.Adventures in Italy

US: West Coast
Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites

US: East Coast
Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen 

Meena Agarwal of Hooked on Heat  

Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand
Ed Charles of Tomato  

and, last but not least, our special Wine Blog Host
Alder of Vinography  

Or, if you're ready to give now, just go on to our donation site at FirstGiving.


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