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Five years ago, Gerald and his younger sister Deyling weren’t expected to live. Chronic malnutrition and severe anemia hindered Gerald’s growth. His sister wasn’t doing well, either.
The family lives in the northern Nicaraguan town of Las Sabanas, where it is a daily struggle to earn a living and find food—most are lucky if they eat one meal a day. Nearly 50% of the children in this area don’t get enough to eat, are chronically malnourished, and as a result, their growth is stunted.
“They were so weak they couldn’t walk without help,” Gerald and Deyling’s mother said. “They could hardly stand.” The future looked bleak for these precious children.
That’s when our partner Fabretto stepped in to help. The family began receiving health and nutritional support. Gerald and his sister were immediately enrolled in Fabretto’s education and lunch programs, where FMSC MannaPack Rice is served daily. With a consistent source of nutrition, their starved and sickly bodies slowly began to heal.
“Without these programs my children wouldn’t be alive,” their mother said.
Today, 10-year-old Gerald and 7-year-old Deyling are THRIVING. Their smiles light up a room. Gerald is succeeding in school and has become one of the most active students in his class.
His teacher noted his progression, “Gerald used to be very quiet, he would never participate. Now he is always the first to raise his hand.” His transformation is remarkable.
School meals save lives. Programs like Fabretto’s are offered by hundreds of FMSC’s partners all around the world, which means more children are given the chance to grow into all that God has made them to be.
Thanks to YOU, children just like Gerald and Deyling now have the brightest futures full of HOPE.
Give more Hope today ► www.fmsc.org/donate
Mark Crea, Executive Director/CEO of FMSC, along with two additional FMSC staff members, recently visited our feeding partners in Uganda and Kenya. He shares this report from the field.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)
Violet, a 12-year-old from South Sudan, is one child out of thousands that have fled their homes in Southern Sudan and The Democratic Republic of Congo to safety in Uganda. Most have seen and experienced trauma that no child should endure. This is her story told to me by Pastor Solomon:
Violet was at home with her younger brother and cousin when conflict broke out near their home. Her father had already died in the war. Fearing for their safety, Violet’s mother instructed them to “run and hide and then keep on running”. So they ran. Thankfully the next day they found their Aunty who was also fleeing.
“We heard shooting, then we started crying. Aunty told us, ‘Be quiet or they might kill you!’”
Together they made the 400km journey from South Sudan to the Ugandan border—constantly on the run with almost nothing to eat.
By God’s grace they made it to Camp Kiryandongo. That is where our partner, Feed The Hungry, feeds 7,500 young refugees each day. For six months Violet did not know if her mother was alive. Three months ago she learned that her mother was alive and she will soon be reunited with her. All three children are now in a Christian boarding school run by Feed The Hungry.
Violet is a great student. She loves math and wants to be an accountant and business woman. She is strong, but the tears are always close to the surface. I did make her laugh though when she was looking curiously at my grey hair. I said, “It used to be all black, but then I had four daughters!”
Violet told me, “Please ask people to pray and help other children like me from South Sudan.” Feed My Starving Children will continue to pray, and we will help these children.
On every trip there is always a child’s pair of eyes that stays with me. Violet’s eyes are that pair of eyes for me on this trip.
You make this work possible. We’ve seen some of the best and most difficult work our partners do. Pastor Solomon looked directly at me and said, “We could not help these children without your food. Nothing happens until they are fed.”
Feed My Starving Children is dedicated to standing with our partners in West Africa through the hard times ahead. We have many phenomenal, dedicated partners in this region and have worked closely with them throughout the past 10 years in response to their food-aid needs.
The Ebola crisis is a tragedy, but the true devastation is only beginning to show. It is currently planting season in West Africa. Due to the number of people affected by Ebola and the extensive fear and lack of education about how the disease spreads, people aren’t working. Crops are not being planted. Farmers don’t have the workforce necessary to plant a majority of their fields, or they are simply not planting at all.
Without crops to harvest, food will soon become scarce in West Africa. FMSC estimates greatly increased demand from our partners in this region throughout the next 6-12 months. Six million meals have already been requested, and we expect this number will continue to rise. FMSC is preparing for long-term needs. We have already sent 2 million of the requested meals. A total of 5 million meals will be sent by the end of November 2014.
A majority of the food being sent is MannaPack Rice. Our partners are currently helping us to assess how our Potato-D formula might benefit and aid recovery in Ebola patients. FMSC meals do not cure Ebola. However, they can assist in the care and recovery of affected patients and maintain the health of those caring for patients.
As far as we know, none of FMSC’s partners have contracted Ebola. However, some of their relatives and family members have been affected. We ask you to join us in praying daily for our partners and their families.
Despite the Ebola outbreak, our partners continue to meet together on a monthly basis through a joint mission to help those who need it most. They have combined resources of FMSC food, their own ministry supplies and money in order to do outreach in the communities and hospitals affected by Ebola. What an incredible example of the body of Christ! We are extremely proud of our partners’ courage.
To donate to FMSC’s Ebola Crisis Response Fund, please visit www.fmsc.org/donate. To volunteer to pack meals, please register at www.fmsc.org/volunteer.
In a tiny Zimbabwe village, Thembani was weak and sick. At 11 years old, his health was struggling due to a poor diet. His mother, Portia, was out of options as a single parent. With no choice but to leave the village in search of work, she left Thembani and his two siblings in the care of their grandmother while she took a job in the city as a housekeeper. She hoped this would help her to provide for her family.
Portia hated being separated from her children, and tried to visit them as often as possible. Every time she saw them, they would tell her how much they missed her and how poor their diet was. This broke her heart. She loved them dearly, yet there was nothing she could do. She didn’t have a place for them to stay and could not afford to provide for her three children.
One day Portia was offered a small job by a member of a local church. She began going to church, heard about FMSC’s partner Children’s Cup, and told them about her situation. The staff at Children’s Cup urged Portia to bring her children to the city. Once they arrived, they began receiving FMSC MannaPack Rice.
Thembani’s health has incredibly improved! He has gained noticeable weight, now attends school and is able to smile again. Portia and her family are together. They are healthy and happy because of the compassion of our partner, Children’s Cup, and the provision of MannaPack Rice, packed by YOUR hands.
Portia, Thembani, Thembelihle and Ncuncu say “THANK YOU” for making such a huge difference in their lives!