We have been working with preschool-age children in the Quinigua (Santiago, DR) community for over three years at our Early Learning site. We prepare these children to enter school with the abilities required by our educational system. However, we try to go further. We pay attention to the needs of these children and their families, intending to remove any barrier that does not allow them to reach their full potential.
We began to notice the change in the attitude of our children without necessarily knowing what made them change. When we started to ask and inquire with parents and neighbours, we began to find problems in the eating process. They were spending days without eating or with little food, and sometimes it was only our little snack that sustained them until dinner. In the cases in which children ate at home, the food was not adequate for their age, development.
We realized what it represented for some the come to our centre. And that is how we followed the leadership of Emily Ozanich and the “More than mangos” project, which consists of bringing nutritious meals to 30 children in our community and providing a healthy meal per day. This gave us the chance to provide a job opportunity to one of the community mothers as our cook.
We thank God and all the people who put their hands together. This program achieved its goal and covered the entire summer with nutritious meals for our children.
But God continued to surprise us and allowed many more people to join hands and turn this program into something that will last until the end of the year. Our hearts are filled with joy and the stomachs of our children as well.
However, we face the reality of not knowing what will happen to the children who still do not go to school once our program ends, the pandemic has aggravated the situation of their families, and we may be their only refuge.
Help us to pray for this project, for new doors to open so we can continue doing the will of our God in the lives of these children.