How long is it since you were hungry? Do you know what it’s like to be ravenously hungry for a long period? It is bad enough for adults, but it’s the little children, the innocent ones, who suffer the most from malnutrition, and the lack of nutritional foods.
Lack of anything like a balanced diet makes many small boys and girls, like those you know, lifelong cripples. They are sometimes marked for life before they can walk or talk. The want of fresh milk, or even milk powder, remains a crying need of mission children; A need that we wish to fulfill as we feed them each week.
Never getting quite enough to eat, and the continued insufficient nourishment, causes in many cases stunted physical growth, serious mental retardation, and leaves God’s little ones easy prey to every stray disease and infection.
Our desire is to continue to help these children to be stronger in body and mind, better able to resist germs and parasites, and to develop the way God intended all children to grow.
Every Sunday we feed upwards to 100 Children who come to our Mission to attend Church, and to obtain the only nutritional meal that they obtain all week. Through the week most of these children live on a little bit of bread, noodles, and a little bit of rice, but on Sundays we feed each one of the Children who come to the Mission a nutritional meal containing meat (chicken, fish, or beef), plus nutritional vegetables. However, our food bill to care for these children runs way more than what comes in to feed the Children. We will have to cut this feeding program out if money does not come in to feed the children.
Our second feeding program cannot be cut out. We have to feed the children who live here at the Mission on a full time basis. We have had to cut back by $25.00 per day in the amount that we are spending to feed the children, which means that the amount of food that each one receives has been reduced. And with this decrease in money we have added, in the last month, several new children to our Mission which we must feed. Do you know what it is like to tell children that there is no more food to eat when they are asking for more? They don’t understand. A few years back I cut my own meals back. I eat just two meals per day in order to have more available for the children. I also limit myself to meat just 3 days per week, also allowing for more for the children. In the beginning this was a hardship, but after several years of doing this, I have gotten used to it. And I don’t think of this as a hardship anymore. But we still need more to care for the children, especially with the increased numbers of children that we are getting. We need help with our food bill.
Before coming here as a Missionary 13 years ago, I had always thought that I grew up rather poor. I found out that in comparison to the children down here, I grew up rich. There were things that I didn’t have as a child, but these children have nothing. And so I thank God every day that I was born in a country such as the United States with the things I had. These children’s only crime was being born in another country, certainly not something they could choose. Belize being a 3rd world country, does not have any program to feed it’s children. There are no government programs, no food stamps. If there is not enough food for the children, malnutrition sets in. With malnutrition children fail to grow normally. Their upper arms are thin. In the dark skin children, the skin becomes paler than normal. In the light skin children it becomes darker. Their hair becomes brittle and breaks. Frequently they become lethargic with big bellies, so that sometimes they almost look pregnant. They have swollen feet. The skin on the lower legs may peel. They have open sores that won’t heal. They have a glue-like body odor and their tongues become sore so that eating is painful. Sometimes they have sharp, shooting pains in their lower legs. Some of the serious complications with Malnutrition include anemia, brain damage and chronic diarrhea. The children become extremely susceptible to infections, and pneumonia becomes the common cause of death. What a sad thing to happen to a child.
It would be our Wish to be able feed these Children each week without having to worry where the money was going to come from to be able to do so. Please, if you will make this wish come true by making even a small contribution towards feed the Children here at the Mission of the Good Shepherd in honor of the Christ Child who became poor so that we would remember the poor and suffering children of the world.