The Negrense Volunteers for Change (NVC) yesterday launched its 10 million mingo meals campaign for Filipino undernourished children by January 2020.
Dr. Mario Capanzana, Food and Nutrition Research Institute director of the Department of Science and Technology, officially launched the campaign before NVC volunteers and donors at rites held at the Main Atrium of SM City Bacolod.
Mingo, manufactured by NVC Foundation, is a nutritious instant complimentary food made of rice, mung beans (mongo) and moringa (malunggay) that targets children aged 6 to 60 months old.
Capanzana said three out of 10 of the country’s children suffer from stunted growth and malnutrition, because of lack of adequate nutrition at an early age.Mingo meals have been clinically tested and proven to effectively address malnutrition and stunted growth, he said.
He called on private firms and individuals, and local government units to support NVC’s campaign to save these children.
Capanzana pointed out that the purchase of mingo meals is 100 percent tax deductible for those who wish to make donations.
He pointed out that, unlike packed noodles provided at evacuation centers during disasters that have barely any nutritional value, mingo meals that come in powder form and only need to be mixed with water to be ready for consumption, provide much needed nutrients.
As of yesterday NVC had raised donations for 8,329,413 mingo meals distributed to undernourished children in 37 provinces, but a $24,000 donation from Balsam Brands of Redwood, California that was announced yesterday provided 96,000 more meals, for a total of 8,425,413.
NVC president Millie Kilayko said they are short of 1,558,295 meals to hit their 10 million target by January 2020 but she is optimistic they will meet their goal and even surpass it in seven months.
She said they are aiming to reach 10 million meals to fast track and jumpstart the development of more children.
“We would like to see a gradual decrease in the rate of malnutrition in the Philippines, because we see the nutritional transformation in every community that we have served,” she said.
They almost always bring down the malnutrition rate by at least 80 percent in communities where they have provided Mingo meals, she added.
Their campaign to provide mingo meals has gained support from companies and people from all walks of life in the Philippines and abroad, including children who break their piggy banks to help, Kilayko said.
If only 50 percent of the country’s 108,007,819 population donate one Mingo meal that cost P12.50.it would go a long way in helping the campaign to eradicate malnutrition, she said.
“The power of love and the human spirit is something that is unbeatable, we really just have to let people know how they can help and they will,” Kilayko said.
“No one is too poor or too powerless to help. When the earthquake in Nepal struck and we shared the plight of the Nepalese people with the fishermen to whom we have given boats after they lost theirs to Typhoon Yolanda, one fisherman started a drive amongst his peers by contributing P20. We have stories such as these replicated as we walk through communities we serve, so we believe that empathy and generosity is in every person. ” she added.
Kilayko pointed out that that 6 to 60 months of a child’s development is crucial, because it is a period of early brain development, and improved nutrition after the age of three cannot compensate for what the child missed earlier.
“Most feeding programs provided for children are given in schools but the curial period is before 3 years old, and NVC has taken the path less taken,” she said.
“We also have prioritized the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas of the country, and that is why many of the children we have served belong to the indigenous peoples. They are harder to reach, but the challenge has become our mission,” Kilayko said
John Arceo, who hosted the launch, noted that 21.5 percent of children in the Philippines below 5 years old are underweight. The Philippines is No. 9 among the countries in the world with the most stunted children, he added.
Kilayko said NVC is set to provide mingo meals for indigenous children in a hinterland community of Calatrava in Negros Occidental, Lambunao in Iloilo and Davao del Norte soon.
At yesterday’s launch, volunteers, including students from Tay Tung High School, packed 100,000 mingo meals for delivery.
For those interested in joining the mingo meals campaign, one can log on to https://www.nvcfoundation-ph.org/10mmm/ or call 034-434-5568, Kilayko said.*
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