To look into a child’s eyes and say “we don’t have any more food today”—I can tell you from personal experience, it’s heart breaking. We serve over 15,000 meals per week through Kids International Ministries and our partner ministries throughout the Philippines, but the need for food is still so great. The meal that is served comes from Orphan Grain Train in the form of Mana Packs, which contain rice and protein.
Often when visiting teams help with feedings in Tondo, the people come away troubled by what they see. Hungry kids are everywhere, children with malnourished bellies come running to greet you, and the food... well, at times the food runs out. I have seen first hand a woman sorting through bags of trash, scrounging for any item she could possibly sell. You see, she makes just enough money each day to pay for fuel to run her stove and to buy food called pagpag to feed her family.
What is pagpag?
Can you imagine going to dumpsters around your city and collecting the leftover food that people did not eat, and then "re-using" it? It's essentially recycled food. Leftover KFC chicken now becomes a dish called chicken adobo or partially eaten hamburger patties end up being some type of goulash. Pagpag is a term given to leftover food that is collected from restaurants, trash and the dumps sites; it is then washed, cooked and sold to poor communities. This is their daily staple food.
Can you imagine being hungry enough to eat this recycled food? A bag of pagpag costs around 20-30 Philippine pesos (59-39 U.S. cents). The act of eating pagpag arose from the extreme hunger here in the Philippines. As you can imagine, this is not healthy or fulfilling. The food we provide at our feedings gives children a nutritious meal that helps ease their hunger pains. We also feed their souls with songs, Bible verses and Bible stories.
I have seen team after team leave a feeding with tears in their eyes and an ache in their heart
because they had to turn children away. A picture similar to this is burned into their memory: a 4-year-old-girl is slowly walking towards you, one arm around her 2-year-old brother, the other carrying two cups. She has a huge smile on her face, excited to play with the foreigners, but even more excited for the hot lugaw they will be enjoying soon. As she gets closer the excitement is too much. She begins running toward the car from which the food is served. As she approaches, your heart is gripped with the hard reality...we are out of food. You bend down eye level with this little girl and tell her you have nothing left for them to eat. The disappointment is seen all over her face. That beautiful carefree smile is replaced with a defeated frown. The heartbreak is almost more than you can bear. Isn’t there more? Isn’t there something else we can do?
We hear this all too often. We see this story unfold every day, and let me say it never gets easier. The needs are so great. At times it is exhausting and defeating. Yet when you see the children run off with a full belly and know they will sleep well that night, you know you've made a difference in a child's life. That is what keeps you going time after time—full bellies and full souls.
This is all made possible through your support of Kids International Ministries.
We use food that is shipped from the U.S. by Orphan Grain Train, which is such a blessing for the ministry. When it arrives in port we have to pay around $3,000 to get it out of customs. Each container feeds around 500,000 meals! This means every $100 donation feeds over 16,000 children! Help us pay for our next container.
All smiles after unloading 500,000 meals
(NOTE: To read more great stories - Click here)