The Ateneo de Iloilo – Santa Maria Catholic School launched a feeding program dubbed “Blue Spoon” in two public schools in Iloilo City last July 29, 2013. In celebration of the feast of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus, the school community with representatives from the Ateneo Alumni Association and the Parents -Teachers Association trooped to Donato Pison Sr. Memorial School and Tabucan Elementary School to inaugurate the project.
The Blue Spoon program is AdI-SMCS’s institution-wide effort of reaching-out to less privileged communities. It is a feeding program designed to target underweight and malnourished children in public schools. For its first year, the feeding program will run for six months starting on August 2013 to February 2014.
Malnutrition and hunger, among others, often lead to poor academic performance. It has become a priority of a number of government and non-government institutions to directly address this problem. The Blue Spoon Program is Ateneo’s contribution in providing supplementary solution in malnutrition and hunger in public schools with the hope that this will have a positive impact in their performance in school.
For its first year, the Blue Spoon will be run in partnership with Donato Pison Sr. Memorial School and Tabucan Elementary School being the immediate neighboring communities of AdI-SMCS San Rafael campus.
Donato Pison Sr. Memorial School is located in San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City and has a total population of 248 pupils, 15% of which are identified by the school as “severely wasted”. This translates to 22 students. The feeding program will include these 22 students. In addition, all the Grade 6 pupils of the target school (36 pupils) was requested by the Principal to be included in the Program to supplement their nutritional needs with the hope that good nutrition will help improve their academic performance.
Tabucan Elementary School is located few meters away from the Ateneo San Rafael, Manduriao campus. 20 out of the 245 students of Tabucan are identified by the school as “severely wasted” and need nutritional assistance. The feeding program will cover these 20 students plus the 37 Grade 6 pupils of Tabucan Elementary School.
A Community Effort
Blue Spoon is supported primarily by a school-wide tithing program called the Iggy Bank. Every year, students express their generosity by sharing their spare change for the school’s outreach programs. This is collected through a large coin bank per class and is being supervised by the Student Council. Another direct source of fund is the White Elephant of the Grade School department, a rummage sale project where students donate their used items which are put on sale for the whole community. The AdI-SMCS Parents and Teachers’ Association, the Ateneo Alumni Association and the Santa Maria Parish have pledged to be alternative sources of fund for the Blue Spoon Program. The school also welcomes donations from private individuals or corporate sponsors who are willing to support this program.
Kulinarya, a student club in AdI-SMCS is assigned to take care of the weekly menu. Standards to be followed include the basic nutritional need for a balanced diet and can be supported with a small budget. The menu will also be designed in such a way that it is easy to replicate at home to send the message that nutritious food is not necessarily expensive.
Procurement of ingredients and cooking of meals will be carried on by the members of the Parents-Teachers Association of the respective target schools. They will cook in the Home Economics building of the school. Everyday, during lunch time, students will be asked to bring their own rice and food containers. Serving of food will be a joint effort of the parents and teachers of the target schools. From time to time, they will be joined by the student-representatives of AdI-SMCS. Regularly scheduled weighing will be conducted in the span of six months to monitor the progress of the program. Sessions on proper nutrition will be conducted for the parents of the target schools.
(For more information on how you could help in this program, kindly contact the AdI-SMCS Campus Ministry and Social Involvement Office at telephone numbers (033)333-3190, (033) 333-3110, (033)333-3189) and look for Mr. Kent Zabalate or Ms. Agnes Gatpatan)