Nutrition Programs – According to the World Food Programme, 47 percent of children in Guatemala suffer from chronic malnutrition, which is the highest rate in all of Latin America and the Caribbean and one of the highest rates in the world. Over the years, Mission Guatemala has worked to help combat this through our nutrition programs, which are organized with community collaboration.
- Full-Time Nutrition Centers –Mission Guatemala operates two school nutrition centers in the San Andrés Semetabaj area, one providing a hearty mid-morning snack and the other a nutritious lunch each school day.
Mission Guatemala provides the ingredients for the meal as well as a staff cook to supervise the members of the community that participate in each day's meal preparation. For 6 years, the daily lunch program was located in the community of Nueva Esperanza, but in July 2017 moved to the community of Choquec. This daily meal is supported by Mission Guatemala's child sponsorship program.
Mission Guatemala's daily snack program is located in the Escuela Kikoten elementary school in San Andrés Semetebaj, where the school's 120 students each receive a hearty, nutritious snack each morning.
- "Como Saludable" Wednesday Lunch Program – Through our “Como Saludable” (Eat Healthy) program, 450 hearty and nutritious meals are served in 5 rural public elementary schools once a week, with Mission Guatemala providing the ingredients and supervision, and the parents and teachers from the community cooking and serving the meals.
- "Life. Changing. Nutrition." – An important ingredient of many of the recipes served in Mission Guatemala's nutrition programs are the rice and soy-based Nutri-Plenty meals provided by our friends at Pack Away Hunger, an Indiana-based nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of children and others around the world who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Their Nutri-Plenty food product was designed and developed in partnership with The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, and contains a blend of 21 vitamins and minerals that are scientifically proven to meet the specific nutritional needs of children.
- "Niños Chispudos" Early Childhood Nutrition Program – While our full-time nutrition centers and Wednesday lunch programs help school-aged children, they do not address malnutrition in children who are not yet old enough to attend school. During a child’s critical early years of development, the effects of malnutrition can be especially devastating, leading to stunting, anemia, and chronic infections and sickness. For this reason, Mission Guatemala coordinates the "Niños Chispudos" (Kids With A Spark) Early Childhood Nutrition Program which utilizes the Chispuditos® food product. Chispuditos® is a soy/corn based atol, or porridge, developed by The Mathile Institute in order to provide a daily nutritional supplement for children in Guatemala. Our "Niños Chispudos" program is open to all mothers with children aged 6 months to 6 years old, and provides Chispuditos® as well as free medical care for their children at Mission Guatemala's medical clinics. In addition, any young children suffering from malnutrition who are treated in our clinic are referred by the doctor to the "Niños Chispudos" program.
Watch the video below to hear the story of one of the amazing families enrolled in the "Niños Chispudos" program!
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