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Kusina ng Kalinga Opens in Quezon City
[Date Created: March 10, 2015]




Last February 27, 2015, a Kusina ng Kalinga kitchen inside GK Espirito Santo, Sitio Pajo, Quezon City was abuzz with the energy of volunteers who were happily preparing lunch for some 2,000 children in the surrounding area. Representatives from the community, the local government, schools, as well as corporate and individual partners were there to witness and experience the official opening and launch of this newest kitchen: from the food preparation to the distribution of the lunchboxes.

The day began with an exciting kitchen tour. Chef Lau & Chef Jac (of Chef Laudico Guevarra's) were able to meet our very own Kuya Jhem Carino, the head chef of the Kusina ng Kalinga kitchen.



Chef Lau: "So nagigising ka ng 3 AM para magluto para sa 2,000?" Kuya Jhem: "Opo. Cooking is my passion po."
Chef Lau: "Hindi lang iyan passion, pare, pagmamahal iyan para sa kapwa. Mag-selfie nga tayo, nakahanap ako ng idol ko." A light moment? What happened right there was an exchange in inspiration. Chef Lau and Chef Jac are on board with us to address hunger. When we demonstrate we can care in a big way like Kuya Jhem does, we inspire others to do the same.



The tour was followed by a short program (see more in article below), and shortly after, everyone headed to the two schools where the lunchboxes will be distributed that day: San Antonio Elementary School and Toro Hills Elementary School.


The highlight of the day was going to the schools and distributing the crates of lunchboxes to the eager kids


The smiles of the kids in San Antonio Elementary School make everything worth it


It was heartwarming to actually speak with the kids as they ate their lunch and beamed with grateful smiles. "Thank you po" reverberated in the hallway, and one girl (upper left) from Toro Hills Elementary School even told us that this was her only meal for the day. 


Back at GK Espirito Santo, everyone got to eat the delicious menudo that was served to the kids - in lunchboxes as well!





To support Kusina ng Kalinga, you may give directly through this link. You may also volunteer in any of our kitchens:




KUSINA NG KALINGA | Gawad Kalinga launches feeding program for schoolchildren
by Tricia Aquino | Lifestyle Section, InterAksyon.com · Wednesday, March 4, 2015 · 6:18 pm
(This article is reposted here with permission from the author)


Grade 2 pupils of Toro Hills Elementary School in Quezon City line up outside the school’s feeding center, where they are given their Kusina ng Kalinga meals. Photo by Tricia Aquino, InterAksyon.com.



Since 3 a.m. on Friday, February 27, residents of Brgy. Baesa, Quezon City, have been sweating out in a community kitchen, preparing rice and viand for some 2,000 public school students in the neighboring schools.


They begin by prepping the ingredients: ground meat, carrots, potatoes, and malunggay. By 5 a.m., the rice is steaming in eight giant cauldrons, while the viand continues bubbling in two other vats until 9 a.m.


These meals are packed in identical yellow and green lunchboxes by 10 to 11:30 a.m., when school administrators begin picking them up. By noon, Kindergarten to Grade 6 students are already digging into these meals.


In Toro Hills Elementary School, 433 malnourished pupils have been benefiting from their parents’ efforts since Monday last week, February 23, when Gawad Kalinga, in partnership with the community, school, local government, and sponsors, launched Kusina ng Kalinga in Quezon City.


A feeding program that banks on bayanihan to succeed, Kusina ng Kalinga was first launched in the municipalities of Alang-Alang and San Isidro in Leyte in the aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda.


Eastern Visayas GK team leader Anthony Adduru, whose family was also the first to receive a GK home in Bagong Silang, Caloocan, said he met four kinds of children in San Isidro: those who would have bananas for lunch because it was the only thing their mothers could afford; those who would have sweet potatoes for lunch because it was the only one of their families’ crops which they could spare; those who would have plain rice for lunch because their parents were only concerned about filling the children’s stomach so they could go to school; and those who had no lunch at all.


“When the campaign to end hunger arrived, they were so happy when we told them they were part of it even if they were not malnourished,” Adduru told guests at a program in Brgy. Baesa on Friday.


The kids whose only baon were bananas and sweet potatoes finally had proper meals for lunch, and they had extra food for snack time. Those whose only baon was rice could finally enjoy their lunch with viand.


In one of the schools in San Isidro, 81 kids began attending classes again because they finally had food to eat in school. In Alang-Alang, absences also dropped.


Since the program was launched, attendance increased to almost 100 percent in San Antonio Elementary School, Quezon City, according to principal Dr. Teresita Dumpit.


“We are able to feed 500 kids, from Kinder to Grade 6. The parents were so happy when we oriented them. Even the kids were happy because they have delicious viand to eat,” she said during the program.


Kusina ng Kalinga was patterned after the “Blue Plate for Better Learning” program of the Ateneo Center for Educational Development, which has a reach of 22,000 students all over the National Capital Region.


Ateneo and the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute developed the meals to be adapted for young kids.


GK then partnered with Ateneo to bring the program to Leyte after Supertyphoon Yolanda struck in 2013. Not only is Kusina ng Kalinga envisioned to provide meals to schoolchildren, but the kitchens will also be the base for the preparation of meals during disasters. In fact, the Alang-Alang kitchen was tested, and succeeded, during Typhoon Ruby in December last year.


(L-R:) GK Executive Director Luis Oquiñena, New Initiatives Head Mark Lawrence Cruz,
and Team Leader for Leyte Anthony Adduru share their insights and experience on ground


The aim is to feed 50,000 children by school year 2015-2016, according to GK New Initiatives head Mark Lawrence Cruz in an interview with InterAksyon.com. If each kitchen can feed about 2,000 to 5,000 children, GK and its partners need to put up about 1,000 kitchens.


“We want to disrupt. This is going to be a disruption of the mindset that the problem of poverty is so massive that it’s almost impossible to start anything,” GK executive director Luis Oquiñena said in a speech during the program.


In addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, Kusina ng Kalinga was investing for the future, he added. “We all have the option of what to eat, where to eat,” he told the audience. “But the kids, they do not have that option. With our little sacrifice we can bridge that gap. Hunger ends when caring begins.”


The biggest gift Kusina ng Kalinga could give, he said, was restoring the children’s capacity to aspire for a better future because they were no longer hungry.


(L) Parent volunteer Maritess Cañares shares her experience and gratefulness while her kids look on;
(R) San Antonio Principal Teresita Dumpit shares how the program has helped her school


“It has helped us immensely,” volunteer Maritess Cañares added. Her two children are beneficiaries of the program, and from getting involved in the kitchen she realized that a tight budget was not an obstacle to giving her children proper nutrition.


Kusina ng Kalinga plays a part in bridging disconnected communities, as well.


One of its four pilot kitchens is located in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao. The province has recently been mired in conflict, with about 30,000 persons displaced in the fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on one side, and the latter’s splinter faction Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters on the other.


“That division is really born out of very long, deep misunderstanding and (lack of) trust. But if you have programs where you can work together, then you are able to build the basic trust needed to restore peace. You cannot have peace without trust. And you cannot have trust without relationships. You cannot have relationships if you’re not connected. So the Kusina ng Kalinga and many programs of Gawad Kalinga helps connect people,” Cruz said.


“If you connect them, that’s the peace process. You don’t go in with a gun. You go in with a lunchbox. You don’t go in with a peace panel. You go in with your presence and say, ‘Let’s be together.’ But you don’t just go in with an empty hand. You need to go in with a program.”


More kitchens are being planned for Benguet, Cebu, Dulag (in Leyte), Iloilo, La Union, and Laguna.


From one house built 11 years ago, GK is now present in 2,500 communities. It has ventured into disaster response and social entrepreneurship, and has now begun to focus on ending hunger.


“We want to broaden the scope of Kusina ng Kalinga,” Oquiñena said. Not only will this target children, but those who either have no option to feed themselves when hungry or those who feed themselves through undignified means such as stealing and begging.


For GK’s executive director, Kusina ng Kalinga is their way of celebrating the EDSA People Power Revolution. From the streets, they are carrying its spirit into the communities, empowering people to end poverty.






Tags: EndPoverty, KusinangKalinga


Kusina ng Kalinga is GK’s campaign to end child hunger by caring together. Our kitchens - powered by the bayanihan work of parents, volunteers, teachers, school and community administrators, LGUs, private individuals, organizations, and corporate partners, are hubs for preparing a whole year round of daily nutritious lunch meals to (K to 6) public schoolchildren. This program is a comprehensive and scalable approach to empowering our young and improving their quality of life as it indirectly impacts their performance in school, their home and community environment.


Our kitchens are currently operating in Alang-Alang, Leyte (3,800 kids), San Isidro, Leyte (5,125 kids), Quezon City, Metro Manila (2,000 kids), and Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat (2,000 kids). Whatever we raise from this campaign will be used to sustain these kitchens, open new ones, and reach 50,000 kids by June 2015.

You can help us reach many more of the ~15M Filipino kids experiencing hunger. Check out our Love Means Walang Iwanan page to see how you can help. You may also GIVE NOW.



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