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Mega Bigay Sustanya Food Program Spearheads Shift Toward Healthier, More Successful Batangueno Youth

In a survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, 44.8 percent of 500 participating elementary students from Sto. Tomas City, Batangas were wasted (low-weight-for-height), and 30 percent fell under the severely wasted (severe acute malnutrition) category. More alarmingly, one percent of the respondents were classified as undernourished.

In partnership with the Department of Education, Mega Prime Food Inc through Mega Bigay Sustanya aimed to counter looming local health issues brought about by malnutrition. The Sto. Tomas-based food corp. spearheaded a 120-day feeding program for 500 DepEd-identified students under the categories of wasted and severely wasted. The program yielded positive results as there was a 5 percent decrease in the wasted group after a month of implementation.

“We could only do much”, said Reach Out Feed Philippines Founder Ms. Dawn Cabigon hinting that it would be nearly impossible to eradicate malnutrition issues in just 120 days. “…but we aim to re-enroll the students who haven’t improved, even after they graduate, even in programs outside of Mega Bigay Sustansya”.

For further sustainability, Mega Prime Foods opted to include the learners’ parents in the program. “Some parents lack creativity, lack the knowledge and skills to provide a healthy meal with a limited budget”. “Yung iba kape lang talaga at kanin,” Cabigon furthered. “Kailangan ng change of mindset (on meal preparations). Aside from the feeding program and the provision of food packages to the participating families, there was also a monthly seminar that capacitated parents on healthy meal preparations which included discussions on healthy recipes and food budget management.

Cabigon also hoped that enhanced, healthier diets would translate to the students’ improved academic performances ultimately giving them better chances of success in their future careers.

For Mega Prime Foods Inc. Chief Growth and Development Officer Mr. Marvin Tiu Lim, the Mega Bigay Sustansya Program just “makes sense”. Being a food corporation, for him, it is logical for the company to be part of the solution to the area’s malnutrition concerns. “Taga dito sa Batangas ang employees namin, and we really long to help their families, friends, and the city.”
Mega Bigay Sistansya is now in its fourth year and has helped thousands of learners in Santo Tomas and eight other locations in the province veer their way out of malnutrition.

Mega Prime Food Corp envisions scaling up the program to reach out to people in other places in the country.

About Joel James Cubillas

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