DepEd targets 42k pupils for feeding program

Some 42,000 undernourished pupils stand to benefit from the Department of Education's School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP), which aims to boost their health and help them do well in school. DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said the feeding program gives nutritious meals to pupils suffering from severe malnutrition for 100 to 120 feeding days. “Our specific target(s) here are children who come to school on an empty stomach which results to absenteeism or poor school performance. This short-term hunger syndrome is observed among public elementary school children who do not eat breakfast or walk long hours to reach school,” Luistro said in a press release. “At the end of the day, we want these target school children to improve their classroom attendance to up to 100 percent by improving their health and nutritional status,” he added. Kindergarten to grade six Initially called breakfast feeding program, the present SBFP allows schools to decide what time to conduct the feeding program. The program, which was implemented starting October 2012 and will run until March 2013, aims to feed some 42,372 undernourished kindergarten to grade six pupils. "It aims to rehabilitate at least 70 percent of the beneficiaries to normal nutritional status at the end of the feeding days," the DepEd said. The meals to be served use malunggay and other vegetables grown from school gardens. The DepEd said those schools not included in the SBFP may work with local government units, non-government organizations, parent-teachers associations and other community stakeholders for a similar program. —KG, GMA News