04 Apr Feeding Kids So They Can BE KIDS
One of the most wonderful things about kids being sponsored through Lahash is that it connects that child’s whole family to our partner ministries. Not only is the sponsored child affected positively, there is potential for the whole family to be impacted. The very first Rice & Beans Month happened back in 2010 because our partners at Grace & Healing Ministry were becoming more aware of the dire nutritional needs in the homes of sponsored kids, and they shared those needs with us.
Through the efforts of the Lahash staff and a few other Lahash-connected folks, that first Rice & Beans Month helped to provide emergency food relief and it strengthened our connection to the kids and families in a way that got us dreaming of what more could be possible if Rice & Beans Month grew. Thanks to people like you, it has grown every year since!
One of the first programs that was created because of Rice & Beans Month was the nutrition program at Grace & Healing Ministry. They were already serving all the children a hearty meal each week at the program day gathering, but it wasn’t enough for some of the kids. They had many children in the program with HIV and other chronic illnesses, and these kids desperately needed a huge increase in their nutrition in order to stomach the medications that could keep them alive and healthy. Some of these children were scavenging for discarded food in garbage piles, some were being denied care within their own households because they were seen as “about to die.”
The Grace & Healing Ministry team, anchored by a group of women called the “Mothers of Love,” used the funds from Rice & Beans Month to create a nutrition program for this specific group of kids. Their commitment and creativity have kept it going through the years and it’s still going strong today. They have figured out systems for feeding kids at the church, getting food to kids at their schools, and supplementing food supplies at home. This is in addition to putting on two huge program day meals each week – one at each of their ministry sites. They source, cook, and serve the vast majority of the food themselves, and they are personally connected to every child who comes through the line.
Over the years, Rice & Beans Month and the nutrition program has made it possible for these kids with chronic illness to make major progress in their physical health and growth. They get to attend school, learn about Jesus, play, dance, study, help at home, and be kids. Instead of barely hovering at the edge of survival, they’ve had the chance to dream about possibilities for their future and begin to reach toward those dreams. They’ve had support and care through various health challenges, and the reassurance that comes with knowing a good meal is never far off.
Some of the first kids to be served by this nutrition program are now in secondary school, vocational training, or higher education. They still have chronic health issues, and yet they are still here and still making progress! There are plenty of littler ones following in their footsteps. Already these younger ones have a loving community rallying around them and helping them navigate the challenges of poverty and illness. Donations to Rice & Beans Month have filled plate after plate, year after year, for kid after kid. We change our diets to help change theirs. And for as long as we keep doing so, it will keep making a life-changing difference!