The aroma of delicious lunches being prepared travels throughout the school hallways while primary school children wait patiently in line, with their personal plates and cups in hand, ready to receive a healthy and nutritious meal.
Hundreds of kids benefiting from Pueblo a Pueblo’s School Lunch project look forward to going to school, not only because they receive daily hot lunches through the project, but because they are able to better enjoy learning with full bellies.
Aside from improving food access and tackling malnutrition in the Santiago Atitlan region, the School Lunch Project teaches children and the community an important lesson about waste reduction and the conservation of resources. By bringing their own cups and plates to school each day, students reduce the unnecessary waste of non-recyclable, single-use utensils. Through this experience, children learn about sustainability and the value of embracing an eco-friendly attitude towards their own environment.
The goal of the School Lunch Project is to nourish the bodies as well as the minds of elementary school children.
The fresh produce harvested from our school gardens is used to prepare healthy school lunches, and any food waste is deposited in worm bins that provide rich soil and fertilizer for the garden.
Maintaining a sustainable connection between school gardens and school lunches is integral to Pueblo a Pueblo’s School Health and Nutrition Program. It is through enabling school children to understand the process of growing their own food organically, cultivating an appreciation for diverse fresh produce, and teaching about the value of waste reduction and sustainable habits, that we are able to work together to strengthen local communities in a meaningful way.
It’s the middle of the school year in Guatemala, and Pueblo a Pueblo continues to bring hot nutritious meals to 6 schools in the Santiago Atitlan region. That’s more than 1,150 primary school children that are getting nourishing meals! The School Lunch project is an integral part of the School Health and Nutrition Program’s efforts to address food security and malnutrition, and impart sustainable gardening techniques to children and their families. By nourishing the children’s bodies and minds, we aim to positively impact their quality of life, as well as that of the communities. The School Lunch and Organic School Garden projects work hand-in-hand to teach students how to plant and harvest the healthy foods they eat during lunch. Our school gardens are flourishing, with over 50 edible varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs planted! Students, teachers along with Pueblo a Pueblo staff enjoy picking the fruits of their labor to supplement the nourishing meals served in the schools. Supported by a strong group of mothers who donate their time to cook delicious lunches for the students, vegetables such as beets, carrots and varieties of leafy greens are used to make healthy salads; while assorted peppers, tomatoes and onions are used to flavor warm and hearty soups. Through this integrated experience, students learn the important connection between sustainable gardening, nutritious and balanced diet, and their well-being. Healthy, well-fed children make happy and attentive students, allowing them to realize their full potential at school!
The Pueblo a Pueblo School Lunch Program has been even more important this year to the six elementary schools where school lunch is served through Pueblo a Pueblo. Because of a lack of resources and difficult economic climate schools that are normally supported by the Guatemalan government with a morning snack have yet to receive funding. Therefore, Pueblo a Pueblo’s school lunch has been providing the only nutritious and healthy food that children will receive during the school day. Additionally, because of the continued support of donors we have just begun to serve lunch in our sixth school Panaj! The Santiago school of Panaj is located in the town of Santiago Atitlan and serves 293 students with its very limited resources. The school community, under the leadership of the school Principle Rebeca Ramirez have come together to organize the implementation of the school lunch project and developed a healthy menu. The school lunch project in Panaj will be complemented with the produce harvested from the school organic garden that Pueblo a Pueblo broke ground on this past month!! Pueblo a Pueblo is now proud to be able to provide a daily nutritious meal to over 1,100 students through the school lunch program making a very important impact on school attendance, mal nutrition rates, and student performance! Thank you for your support!
The 2012 school year in Santiago Atitlan is getting off to a great start this year! The Pueblo a Pueblo School Lunch project will continue to provide hot daily lunches to the children of La Cumbre, Chacaya, and Panabaj. Additionally this year, because of the support of donors, we are expanding the program to the School of Tzanchaj II! Tzanchaj is located on the shores of Lake Atitlan and within the danger zone declared following the devastating mudslides of 2005. The 215 children who attend Tzanchaj will now receive a daily hot lunch, often their first meal of the day for children from families who often do not have the resources to provide a healthy breakfast. Pueblo a Pueblo’s school lunch program will begin this year by providing daily hot lunches to over 760 students in Santiago Atitlan. With additional donor support through GlobalGiving, we hope to expand the School Lunch Project this year to provide an important and healthy meal to more children within the Santiago Atitlan region. Thank you for your continued support!
As the 2011 school year comes to an end this week in Santiago Atitlan, Pueblo a Pueblo reflects back on the growth and impact that the School Lunch program has had throughout the year. Now serving lunch in three rural schools, Panabaj, Chacaya, and La Cumbre, Pueblo a Pueblo is providing healthy and nutritious meals to over 700 children who would not otherwise have access to a meal of protein and important vitamins and minerals. Instead of a typical lunch at home of corn tortillas and salsa, or salt, children in the Pueblo a Pueblo School Lunch program are eating chicken with beans and rice, beef stew, and on other days spaghetti with vegetables. The mere existence of the school lunch program and certainty that children will be fed during school is an incentive for poor agricultural families to send their children to school. November does not only mark the end of the school year but also the beginning of the coffee harvest throughout the region. This is a busy time for families whose livelihood is dependent on the coffee harvest and young children are often pulled out of school to help harvest. The incentive of a hot lunch is enough to keep many of those children in school up to the last days of class, enabling them to complete all of their final exams and continue on to the next year.
Looking forward Pueblo a Pueblo is entering an exciting time of growth! With your support we hope to be able to expand to two more schools in the coming year, providing a much needed hot daily lunch to an additional 530 children of Atitlan, Guatemala.
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