Today on the Hope Grows compound, 300 children will arrive, crowd into the small church and sing a few favorite songs, perhaps have a short story, then head over to the outdoor kitchen to receive a hefty meal of beans and rice from our team of cooks. They line up in order of age, littlest ones first, then are helped to a place to sit and eat in the shade of a giant mango tree.
We have been serving food three days a week for the past eight years and in 2016, due to a recent donation, we increased it to five days a week. Our meals are often the only ones these kids have to fill their empty tummies.
Food prepared is sometimes from Kids Against Hunger, which has an added component of nutrition, but when that is gone we buy huge bags of rice, clean and cook black beans, then add dried vegetables and protein mix. Every meal is consumed with enthusiasm, and we are so excited to see a difference in their physical appearance and overall health.