SINCE initiating a feeding program in my birthplace, Mapatag, Hamtic, Antique, Philippines, in March 2007, as inspired by one member of the Overseas Filipino Council (OFC), Dr. Bert Pagarigan, I have been relentless in having it conducted despite the many odds met through the years till now, this year 2016.
It was not, though, a continuous endeavor, mainly because of the mothers’ enthusiasm waning after a few months of attending to the food preparations. The first try in March 2007 lasted only for six months and it got revived in August 2008 through a partnership with Ms. Anita S. Schon’s “Anita’s Kitchen” (AK).
Feeding went on and off, depending on the mothers’ availability in preparing for the food, which kind and ways of preparation, depended on Ms. Schon’s advice. Then it again stopped for a few months, after which, sporadic feeding, which usually recommences during the lean month of August, continued.
It was mainly a personal initiative, making use of my own resources – my way of sharing the blessings that God has been continuously giving me. Aside from serving food to the people immediately surrounding my abode, I was also buying sacks of rice and distributing them to the hungry, especially during typhoon times. As well, a few individual class feedings at school, I also was covering.
In February 2012, Ms. Anita S. Schon, who was at that time the President of Overseas Filipino Council International, Inc. (OFCI), together with Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors, Dr. Nelson Paguyo, visited Mapatag to officially introduce the Self-Help Nutrition Program through Anita’s Kitchen (AK). Both are based in the U.S.A., from where the mother organization originates, and purposely traveled to Antique to promote OFCI.
I was already then a member of OFCI, based in Kuwait, and a plan to give back something, in return for the two US-based officials’ dedicated move in actually coming to Mapatag, was concocted mid 2012. By October 2013, building of an edifice to be utilized as “The Anita’s Kitchen”, commenced and by April 26, 2014, it got inaugurated with no less than Ms. Schon cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
Weekly feeding, held every Saturday, soon commenced and food preparations, initially done at Anita’s Kitchen, were attended to by the mothers on a rotation basis. When the OFCI Multipurpose Center was built in December 2014, feeding has become more comfortable for the children. They used to gather in front of the house of my son and would be seen sprawled on cemented surfaces while eating.