Jenny, a Filipina-American living in Chicago, had wanted for many years to do charity work in her parents’ homeland, the Philippines, which she hadn’t visited in 16 years. She felt that it was important for her to reach out to the poor there and to share some of the wealth she enjoys in the States, so she got on the Internet and found our project here in Cebu.
After communication back and forth about what could be done here and how she would like to help, Jenny flew here in November 2006, along with her aunt who also wanted to lend a hand.
Jenny had read about the nutrition program that we hold regularly at an elementary school in the hills of Talisay, a city south of Cebu, and she wanted to both sponsor and participate in this project. Through a friend of ours, we had become aware of three schools in this area and their great need—about 40% of the attending children are malnourished—a couple of years ago. We cook at one of the schools, and teachers from the other two come to help with that and take food back to the children in their schools.
Jenny, her aunt, and volunteers from the Family International were received by the principal, Edwin, and our visitors were taken on a tour of the school, while the rest of our team unloaded the big pots and all the food we had purchased. The children were well behaved and happily greeted the visitors. Though the school is very poor, the cleanliness and tidiness standard is high and the children pride themselves in helping to keep it that way. The principal works right beside the children in this regard, instilling good habits in his students through his dedication and personal example.
While the food was cooking, Jenny presented the students with gifts of crayons, paints, color pencils, coloring books, etc., and the children were very touched. All the gifts had been brought from the States and sponsored by Jenny’s friends and colleagues. They also donated about 50 books—the first books for the school library.
Seeing all these beautiful, well-mannered children and feeling their appreciation was well worth traveling halfway around the world to help them, Jenny said. She decided then and there that this would not be the last time she would help sponsor our nutrition program at elementary schools.