How community kitchens can fight malnutrition

Here's how the gift of New Classrooms and Community Kitchen can change a community.
  • By: Rebekah Malbrecht

When you have guests in your home, where do they tend to congregate? We wouldn’t be surprised if you said the kitchen.

Kitchens have a magnetic pull and become the central gathering place in many homes. It’s not just the irresistible smells that waft from that room that draw people in, but the warm hub of community where people come and go daily to find comfort, sustenance and relationship.

It’s where life happens.

It won’t surprise you then that kitchens are incredibly important to Compassion centres around the world. Though it may not be the hub of a child’s personal home, a kitchen represents a home-away-from-home to the kids who attend the Compassion centre.

Two girls wearing blue shirts smile while eating food in a Compassion dining room.

“I can say that eating is one of the children’s favourite things. When we prepare empanada or pasta with meat, they always want to take another portion. Some of them come to my office to ask for another serving of food. And I always say yes.” – Martha, a Compassion centre director in Colombia.

Imagine the delight of the children as the delicious smell of their meal starts filling the Compassion centre as they approach the lunch hour. Volunteer cooks chatter together as they prepare what, for some children, may be the most food they will have during that week.

The kids peek in for a glimpse of what’s to come.

Woman with a hairnet hugs a child from the centre while smiling.

Mireya is a volunteer cook at a Compassion centre in Colombia. The relationships kids build with the cooks are special. Mireya says, “Nicol calls me ‘her second mom’ and says that my daughters are her sisters. She knows that I love her very much. I care for Nicol so she will be well-fed and healthy.”

It’s essential to the holistic development of children. Practically speaking, the Compassion centre kitchen provides a nourishing meal to children, which is more important than ever amidst the global food crisis.

Hungry bellies are filled. But more than that, the kitchen is a part of the ethos of a Compassion centre because it represents comfort, life and relationship to the children we serve.

It is a tangible expression of God’s love in the lives of children and the community.

That’s why this year’s Gifts of Compassion gift guide includes the opportunity to help provide a new community kitchen and classrooms to two Compassion centres in Honduras.

Little boy wearing a red shirt and smiles upward with a plate of food in front of him.

“My favourite food is spaghetti. I also like salty lentil pancakes and love tuna flavour! I feel happy when I receive the food at the centre because it makes me happy to eat.” – Angel, a Compassion child in Colombia.

You can make an impact in the kitchen.

The capacity to provide food to all the children attending a Compassion centre is vital. It provides ongoing support, connection and essential care for families and children in a community.

Today, Honduras remains one of the lowest-income countries in Latin America. Back-to-back years of drought have made food insecurity even worse for families living in poverty, on top of rising food costs.

As a result, 23 per cent of all children under five years old are stunted in Honduras (USAID). Stunting is a dangerous state for the development of a child. It’s the debilitated growth and development children experience from poor nutrition as well as repeated infection and poor psychosocial stimulation.

But with your support, we can change this reality. And it starts in the kitchen.

Samy the cook smiles against a blue wall of the kitchen

Samy is a cook at a Compassion centre in Colombia who loves serving the children of her community.

The gift of New Classrooms and Community Kitchen in Honduras has an impact that’s two-fold. It not only provides much-needed food and nutrition for children living in poverty, but also a place to learn, grow, discover and feel at home!

A local Compassion centre is a safe haven for children living in poverty. With hundreds of kids participating in programming each week, it’s vital that Compassion centre facilities are updated and equipped. This way, they can adequately meet the needs of centre staff and the children and youth they serve.

One Compassion centre in Honduras has identified the need for new classrooms, while another needs a kitchen in order to continue serving the kids in their community. Your gift helps to construct these essential facilities that will become beacons of hope.

From the direct and indispensable benefit of providing food to hungry children in a community facing the full impact of the global food crisis, to the social-emotional benefit of providing a secure space for children to receive comfort, life and relationship, the gift of New Classrooms and Community Kitchen in Honduras will have a massive impact in this community, tangibly sharing the love of Jesus.

Girl wearing a pink shirt smiles while eating her dinner in the kitchen

____

Combat malnutrition and create space for kids in Honduras.

Because a kitchen is where life happens. The classroom is where life grows.

Give Classrooms and Community Kitchen