Feeding African Children with African Food

February 1, 2023

Next week I will have completed 78 trips around the sun.  I can testify that it is a lot of miles.  There have certainly been a few hiccups along the road but for the most part, my life gets better every year.  Just 2 months ago I was facing serious open-heart surgery and thanks to lots of prayers and excellent medical care that is all behind me.  I am doing my cardiac rehab here in Africa by riding my bike for 2+ hours every day.  I am also able to get some productive work done most days and enjoy spending time with my African friends and family.  I feel great and I am happy to be alive and able to do the work that God has called me here to do.

Several wonderful new things are happening with our ministry.  This month we are expanding our feeding program by adding a new to our concept we are calling ”Feeding African children with African food”.  We plan to continue receiving the 21 shipping containers of Meals from the Heartland food packets.  We make sure that each child gets a minimum of 450 calories each day so that gives us 4 million meals per year.

Our new project involves purchasing African agricultural produce to feed our children in partnership with some of our African feeding centers who are desiring to contribute a small portion of the financial resources needed to purchase this additional food.  In year one, our African feeding center partners will contribute 10% of the cost of this new food, in year two, 15%, and in year 3, they will contribute 20%.  Our American donors will still contribute the lion’s share of finances but it is a great next step to have the Africans have some skin in the game and contribute where they can.  It gives them a sense of pride and ownership in the overall feeding program and makes it much more sustainable.  We just signed contracts with 2 of our feeding hubs in the Durban area and will add additional hubs as funding is made available to us from both the USA and SA.  We have reassured each of these hubs that they will continue to receive the same amount of food packets from MFTH and Convoy of Hope as they have grown used to over the past 11 years at no cost to them.  This new program will permit them to feed each child more nutritional food with each meal and also increase the number of children that they are feeding.  I have never seen this concept done anywhere else in the world but I am excited and optimistic that it will work well for us here in Africa.

Currently, we are feeding 60,000 children 3 to 5 meals/week, using 11 different hubs throughout Southern Africa.  We communicate with each of these hubs via weekly Zoom meetings.  Each hub has several care points where they distribute food.  Each care point typically feeds 50 to 100 children.    This year our focus is ensuring that each child is getting a fully balanced meal with adequate calories at least 3 days each week.  We also will be improving the quality of data that we collect from each of our hubs and sharing that data with our donors.

in addition, we are starting a new program this month. In partnership with HyLine Poultry Company and U of Iowa medical students, we completed a research project measuring the benefit of adding an egg a day to a select group of children we are feeding and documenting the benefits. HyLine just donated 1200 layers to help us get this program off to a running start. I will expand on this project in a future blog.

My prayer request from this month is that our staff in America and Africa will learn to better love and care for each other as we care for the children that God has called us to care for.

I just read the book, “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek.  I highly recommend this to all of you.