The Feeding Program for the Baclayan Mangyan School for the 2012-2013 school year started serving meals last June 6, 2012. For the first month of the Feeding Program, it has recorded a total of 197 children served. On a day-to-day basis we are serving meals to 170-180 students. This is more than a 100% increase from the previous school year and way above any of our expectations. While it is a super positive development, it is undeniable that it also poses a challenge in financially sustaining the program. The tremendous increase in the number of students who has registered for school is partly an effect of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the Philippine government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development. It is a poverty alleviation program reaching out to around 3 million households nationwide. One of the conditions to become a beneficiary of the program is that parents should ensure that their children are enrolled in school. While the DSWD program might be the strongest motivation for parents to enroll their children in school, the fact that the children will be able to eat a nutritious lunch helps to secure that they stay in school and enhances their ability to learn.
With the increased number of children being served lunch, several changes have taken place in the kitchen. The operation of the kitchen now starts at 8:00 in the morning and ends at 3:00 in the afternoon. Meals are served in 4 batches. The first meal is served at 11:30 for the kinder students and the last meal is served around 1 pm for the eldest of the students. Parents continue to take turns in cooking, serving and cleaning.
It was observed that the teachers have been more pro-active in managing the kitchen. Aside from posting the kitchen duty, they also remind children about their parents’ schedule. They assist their students in eating and ensure that all their students are inside the kitchen/dining hall. Sometimes they also help in cooking, if parents on duty fail to show up. There are nine (9) high school scholars from Baclayan who report to the kitchen every Saturday to do general cleaning and take inventory in preparation for the next week’s feeding activities.
In one of our meetings with the parents, we found out that a main reason why parents prefer to enroll their children at Baclayan Mangyan School is the feeding program. Attendance records indicate that only very few children go home after eating. Almost 100% stay till the end of classes.
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