Thursday, February 18, 2016

You can feed a malnourished child, for TWO CENTS per meal!

To go directly to
donation information,
follow the arrows!

The Problem:

We deal with a significant number of children with severe, chronic malnutrition in the mountain villages around Gracias. This malnutrition often causes the children to have stunted growth, impaired mental development, and weakened immune systems that make them unable to fight off illnesses. Usually, the problem is not that they don't get enough food, but that the limited diet available doesn't provide them with the vitamins and minerals needed for good health.

The Solution:

For just 2 cents, we can provide a child with a vitamin-enriched, nourishing meal. If we provide that child two such meals each week, we can stave off malnutrition. This means that the cost of saving one child from malnutrition for an entire year is just $2.08!!!!!

How we do it:

Networks of volunteers make this amazing result possible. Churches and other groups in the US donate time and money to pack specially designed foods for export. We receive this food at no cost beyond the shipping and customs fees to bring the food to Honduras. We then distribute the food to over 100 pastors in Western Honduras, where members of their congregations volunteer to cook the food and run the feeding centers, to aid those in need in their own communities. We provide oversight and accountability for each center.

This networking system places the local pastors in a position from which they can effectively minister to the children in the program, both physically and spiritually. 

Each shipment of food contains 286,000 adult-sized meals, which equals approximately 400,000 child sized meals (depending on the size of the child). The cost to ship a container, divided by the number of meals, comes to slightly less than 2 cents per meal.

Donation information: 

1.  To Donate Online:

Use this link to go to The Foundation for Missions donation page, and scroll down to the section which says "Donate to a Missionary/Ambassador." From the drop down menu, select "Allen and Trish Sowers" (we're way near the bottom). In the field labeled "Any additional specifics?" you should type in: Sowers Feeding Program

Please note:
 If you want your donations to go specifically to one of the Sowers4pastors projects, do not use the section of the page labeled "Donate to a program or project." The office may not know you want the money to go specifically to a Sowers4pastors project unless you go through the "Donate to a Missionary" section and select our name. Just make sure to put the project name in the "additional specifics" field of this section, as well. 

2. To Donate by mail, send checks to:

The Foundation
PO Box 560233
Orlando, Florida 32856-0233

- Make check payable to "The Foundation" 
- Write "preferenced for Allen Sowers Ministry - feeding program" on an enclosed paper 

3.   As you give, remember these facts:

 - $2.08 will feed one child two highly-enriched meals each week, for an entire year!

 - $20.80 will feed 10 children for the year.

 - $104.00 feeds 50 children for the year!      

 - If you give $20.80 per month, you can be responsible for feeding 120 children!

4.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments section. Should you wish, you can send us your phone number, and Allen will happily call to discuss the program with you personally, in greater detail. (If you put your name and phone number in a comment, we will receive it and it will not be posted online.) 

Thank you so much for helping us help the people of Western Honduras!


The Reader said...

"Ideally, how many containers of food do you ship down each year? Or, if the actual number varies depending on funds received, what is the target number you would LOVE to reach each year?

I ask because 400,000 (approx) meals sounds like a lot...but divided among 100 congregations, that is 4,000 meals per center. Still sounds like a lot...but divided by 100 meals, per child, per year (roughly) (2 meals, per child, per week *52 weeks), that is 40 children per feeding center...and I think I've seen elsewhere that each feeding center serves more children than that, correct?

So wondering what number you guys would like to see/how often you'd like to bring down a container, how many children are served, total, when the funds are fully available...?"

Trish said...

Sorry for the delay in answering - we had a shipping container of mixed donations arrive this week, and that pushed everything else to the back burner for a couple of days. These are great questions, and we appreciate, so much, that you asked them. Here goes:

In answer to your question, the funds have never been fully available. We currently feed 12,000 children, twice each week, at approximately 120 feeding centers, with a few meals used at special events and such - at this time we are going through about 3.5 total containers per year. (Although the number of children in each location varies drastically, from 20 up through 300, the typical size is 80 - 120 children.)

We could easily use twice as much food as we are receiving right now. We have a long waiting list of pastors wanting to start a feeding center. So, our ideal, which we have never met, is to ship 7 or 8 containers per year.

Anonymous said...

Trish - to meet the 7 or 8 containers a year goal, what do you need? Is it just the shipping and related costs or is there more involved on the states side of things?
Now that I am here in the states and (sorta)able, I would like to see if I could find a way to help.
-Jennifer Santos Leon

Anonymous said...

What would help more at this time, contributing to the food fund and/or sponsoring a child?

Trish said...

Jennifer - we are always looking for additional sources of food to ship down here. There are multiple organizations doing this same type of ministry, where they put together food to be shipped to where it is needed. These groups offer different combinations of food, including rice and soy mixture, rice and lentils mixture, and macaroni and cheese mixture. We find that the children we serve enjoy the rice and soy more than some others, so we do try to specify the type of food we receive, and to make sure that the nutritional content of the food is very high (since we are always working to stave off malnutrition).

Most of these ministries will give us this food for free in the US, and we pay for the shipping and customs to bring the food to Honduras. For 7 containers of food each year, we would have to raise $50,000. At first glance, that sounds like a lot of money, but that would provide 2.5 MILLION meals . . . enough to feed 25,000 kids (2 meals each week) for a year!

There are times when we have trouble finding a container of food, of the food type we use here, ready to ship when we need it, but generally, the food is available regularly in the US, and we could increase the number of containers we ship if we just had the money for the shipping.

That's a long answer to say . . . it's mostly not having the money for shipping which holds us back from feeding more children.

Trish said...

Anonymous - participating in either of the two programs you mentioned has great impact. The programs appeal to two different types of donors. The sponsorship program allows a donor to have a personal relationship with one child, while also feeding a significant number of other children - which is great for people who desire that relationship. Money given to the general feeding program feeds more children, but does not offer the opportunity and responsibility of an ongoing relationship.

So, a donor can choose whichever one works best for them, with the assurance that we have worked hard to design each program (with the help of LOTS of volunteers, in each case) to make sure that all donation are stretched to do as much as possible!

Thanks for the great question!