A delegation of employees from Yum! Brands restaurants recently travelled to Nicaragua to see how school meals can help build a brighter future for children and communities.
Across Canada, restaurant employees have been working hard to raise funds and awareness for the fight against hunger. Through their World Hunger Relief campaign, Yum! Brands restaurants in Canada have been competing to raise the most money for the World Food Programme. In total, the restaurants raised US$380,000 in 2011.
The campaign leaders from each winning restaurant—one each from KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut—recently visited WFP operations in Nicaragua to witness first-hand food assistance for the hungry poor.
The group’s journey took the Yum! employees to two school meals programmes run by the Government with the support of WFP in the region of Nueva Segovia. This region has a very high prevalence of childhood malnutrition (approximately 28%), caused by extreme poverty and the impacts of recurring natural disasters on food security.
At one school, El Limon, WFP supplies corn soy blend, fortified oil, yellow split peas, maize and rice to provide daily meals for 103 children. Without the dedicated help and enthusiasm of the Mothers Committee, a volunteer program organised by the parents, these meals would not be possible. The food is given to the mothers, who prepare the meals in their homes then bring them to the school for the children. To entice the children to eat foods like yellow split peas, which are highly nutritious but not part of the traditional diet in Nicaragua, the mothers have adapted local recipes that include sugar and cinnamon and soups with vegetables and rice.
“The parents want to help, they want to prepare the food and make sure the programme is a success,” said Juergen Schroedl, who led the fundraising campaign for all of Canada, after visiting the schools. “The parents take great pride in this programme and their participation in it.”
The following day the group visited Las Cruces School, where a small kitchen has been built so the mothers can cook and serve daily meals to all the children.
“I see the difference these school meals make to the lives of the children, having a reliable and constant source of food and how it’s benefiting the whole community,” said Karen Goulding, General Manager of the winning KFC restaurant. “It gives the children a reason to come to school and stay in school.”
Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief campaign spreads the word about hunger to millions of people every week in restaurants around the world. Since its launch in 2007, World Hunger Relief has raised US$60 million for WFP’s greatest needs, lending support to WFP operations in 44 countries.