Dec 05, 2023 . 6 months ago

Benefits of Free Meals for Students

It’s not rocket science. Kids have a tough time focusing on school when they’re hungry. They can’t fight off illnesses when they’re malnourished. And their energy level is way down when their young bodies don’t receive the necessary nutrition vital to their health. In many countries, this is the reality – a reality LiveBeyond is working hard to resolve with free meals for students in Thomazeau, Haiti and Israel’s West Bank. 


The Problem

Even before the pandemic, “there was already a global learning crisis,” says the 

World Food Programme’s (WFP) Carmen Burbano. “Children were in school, but they weren’t learning much. They weren’t able to read or identify a simple text by the time they were 8 or 10 years old. So, we knew already back then that in low-income countries, particularly, we had a problem of children being in school but actually not being able to learn much.”

According to the WFP, hunger and illness in low and middle-income countries contributed heavily to that problem, leading to:

– 300 million school children with anemia, causing them to lose six IQ points per child.

– 73 million children going to school hungry, resulting in the loss of 200-500 million school days lost to ill health each year.

– Children attending class, but unable to learn.

The WFP says these problems have worsened since the pandemic, when 370 million children missed out on meals and essential health services due to school closures. Today, 150 million students still don’t have access to meals. “We are looking at potentially generations of children that will be lost, that will never come back to school, especially girls,” Burbano said.


What LiveBeyond Donors Have Done

At LiveBeyond, we want kids in our Thomazeau, Haiti and West Bank, Israel communities to be strong, healthy, and educated. Our donors want this, too, and thanks to their generous gifts, we provide children in local schools, including the LiveBeyond School and Johnny’s Kids programs, with two meals a day, five days a week. This amounts to 15,000 meals weekly for 15 schools. Many of these students were born to mothers in our Maternal Health Program, who received vitamins and food during and after pregnancy, so they had a healthy start in life. 

 Armed with nutrition and excellent teachers, LiveBeyond students:

– Are doing exceptionally well on their exams.

– Are able to pay attention in class and complete their homework.

– Had a 100% pass rate on their 9th grade national exams this year!

– Are healthier and miss fewer school days.

Malnutrition in Haiti

Hope Amidst the Chaos

In addition to feeding students and mothers, LiveBeyond provides more food to the community through the LiveBeyond Farm, also funded by our donors. Local farmers cleared rocks, tilled, fertilized, planted, watered, and learned sustainable farming techniques. The result? Once barren land now flourishes with banana and papaya trees, carrots, corn, beetroot, eggplant, spinach, chilies, shallot, and beans. This nutritious, fresh produce contributes to more than 7,000 weekly meals to the Thomazeau community. Even better, it helps improve overall health for children and adults alike. 

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.” 

LiveBeyond is grateful to donors who choose to be part of something bigger than themselves. Most of us cannot fathom the violence, chaos, and fear prevailing in Haiti and Israel. It is horrific enough for adults; just imagine the impact on children! When you choose to share what you have with those who have little to nothing, you are sharing your faith as well as your resources. Jesus said, “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.”— Proverbs 22:9. To help fund meals for hungry students in Haiti and Israel, donate here

Huge thanks go out to all the LiveBeyond donors who shine their light in a murky world. With that light, they change lives, give children a future, and spread HOPE. If you are interested in getting your church, workplace, or community involved with LiveBeyond, please email [email protected].

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