Friday, December 9, 2011

New and Improved Feeding Program!

I just returned from Malawi to check on the feeding center. The trip was very successful!



The following are changes made to the feeding program:

1) Coordinator:
Geofrey, new feeding center coordinator.
I have hired a new coordinator named Geofrey Mankhokure, a native Malawian and good man. I met Geofrey 4 years ago when he was working for the home that me and some American volunteers stayed at. He impressed me with his hard work and honest nature. If you want to send anything to the kids you will need to send it to:

Geofrey Mankhokure
PO Box 145
Monkey Bay, Mangochi District 
Malawi, Africa

If you do send anything, please let me know so I can make sure they receive it...

2) Accountability:
I met with the chiefs of the 3 villages surrounding our feeding center. These chiefs are Namakoma, Chizula, and Nangoma. All were very happy about our program and urged me to expand it to include more kids as soon as possible. I asked them to create committees made up of villagers from various parts of each village to oversee the program. They agreed. These committees will also have access to all financial records that Geofrey is keeping to be sure that all funds are being used properly.

Every month when I send Geofrey the money, he will make a copy and keep it in a folder. He will also keep track of all expenditures and have these ready for any village committee members that want to see them.

3) Location:
While before we were renting land for $50 a month and using a temporary shelter, we now are constructing a permanent feeding center on free land. The permanent center should be finished in about 6 months. Until then, a friend named Francis Njanje (director of the Malawi Volunteer Organisation) is allowing us to use his land and a room for food storage. This land also has a well and kitchen room that we have free access to.

4) Selection:

In the past, the coordinator selected kids to come to the feeding center. Now kids will be selected by the village committees, as they will know more about which kids are the most needy. The 17 sponsored kids are automatically allowed to come to the feeding center (we have had some sponsors drop out over the past 3 years and are looking to replace them if you know of anyone who is interested).

5) Food:
Instead of feeding just rice porridge, we are now feeding vegetables, beans, potatoes, and relish as well as rice and their staple food nsima (maize). Kids get a more nutritious meal now, every day!

5) Costs:
Costs all over Malawi have been steadily rising and seem to have peaked (I hope!). Even a gallon of gas (when you can get it) is now up to about $8 a gallon. When the pumps are out of fuel, which is quite often, you can expect to pay up to $20 for a gallon of gas on the black market! 

While just 2 years ago I could buy 100 pounds of rice for $35, it now costs nearly $70! Prices of vegetables have also gone up. While we used to be able to feed a child for just over $5, it now costs just under $10 to feed a child for a month.

Please consider donating to feed these kids!


Shane Mast
Director

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Skip a Meal, Feed a Child for a Month!

For the price of a meal at a restaurant, you can give a child in Africa food for an entire month! $10 pays for 30 days of food in Malawi. 

We are able to do this because we buy our food in bulk and have almost no overhead (No one in the USA gets paid. Only one person in Malawi does and that is $50 a month).

The Feeding Center:
Mercy League Malawi runs a feeding center in Monkey Bay, Malawi. The feeding center provides one meal a day for many orphans in the villages of Chizula and Namakoma. We have been able to feed up to 90 kids in a day! Our only requirement for kids to remain in the feeding center is to go to school (this gives the family or caretakers incentive to keep kids in school and not send them to work or look for food). We hope to expand very soon as more donations come in!

We/they are not asking much. We'd love for sponsors to give $50 a month or even $100 (if you can, please do!), but we understand that times are hard. We are asking that you give up one meal a month and send in what you would have spent on that meal to feed these kids. Of course, you don't have to skip a meal to contribute, but if you do, please, please leave a comment about your experience!

This can even be something that you do as a family or church/social group. You can talk about the sacrifice you are making and what it means for someone on the other side of the world. For this small sacrifice, you can know that a child will go to sleep every night for the next 30 days with something in their belly. A burden will be lifted off of whoever is caring for them, so they can feed their families. It's a win, win!


About Malawi:
Malawi is one of the most impoverished nations in the world. The average person earns only $2 a day. In Monkey Bay, a rural area, it is even lower. Malawi is also known as "The Orphan Nation" as there are over a million orphans in this nation of approximately 14 million people.

Some other Malawi Stats:
-1 out of 5 children die before age five (http://www.who.int/countries/mwi/en/)
-17% of the population is HIV positive (World Health Organization)
-Life expectancy is 48.4 years (CIA World Factbook)

Times are hard everywhere, but especially in Malawi, where the latest gas prices are at an estimated $20 a gallon! As we all know, that when gas prices go up in America, food prices go up as well. This is happening in Malawi and fewer people are able to feed their own children, let alone the orphans that they may be taking care of.

That's where we come in (and hopefully you)!

How to Donate:
It's easy!  There are two ways to donate online:

Single Donation
1) Just hit that button over there on the top right of this page that says, "Donate!"
2) Enter the amount you would like to donate, and
3) Either (a) log into paypal, OR (b) click "continue" on the left to donate via credit or debit card.

OR

Subscription (Auto-Pay Each Month)
You can choose a monthly amount from the drop down menu in the "Subscription" box and hit the button that says, "Subscribe". This will give you the opportunity to set up a monthly subscription of any monthly amount for as long as you'd like. No hassles! It will automatically donate your desired amount each month. You can stop at any time!

Tax Deductible:
All donations are completely tax deductible through our parent organization Mercy League International.
Tax ID: 77-0656952