“It is possible to educate children in the pleasures of food; and that doing so will set the children up for a lifetime of healthy eating. Feeding is learning” Bee Wilson stated. Academic achievement and health have a significant relation. Students who are in good health are doing better in school than those who are not. Schools have been tasked with promoting student health through creating positive environments, policies, support services, and information-based interventions.

In order to perform or participate in any school activities, all pupils/student must be in good health, so the Department of Education (DepEd), through the Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division, implemented the School Based Feeding Program (SBFP) in the 2018 fiscal year, which aims to contribute to the improvement of classroom attendance and school performance of target beneficiaries to more than 85% per year, and encourage learners to go to school every day.

Health problems such as malnutrition, obesity, unhealthy eating due to poverty are some factors that affect overall performance of students, health is a whole state of well-being and a balance of physical, mental and social wellbeing, not just the absence of diseases or illness.

Health plays an important role in achieving youth’s academic success and in that it indicates the overall well-being of the student. People who are in good health are more productive, saves more and live longer. Health is a factor that enables a person to carry out his everyday responsibilities correctly. Bringing a hungry child or teenager to class has a significant impact on their ability to learn, thrive, and reach their full potential so we need to focus more on the health of every students that experiencing health problems that can lead to low performance on school activities.

In the past 6 years School Feeding Programs (school meal programs) has contributed a lot especially on our learners, it helps them improve their nutritional status, boost their immune system, and address hunger in order for them to have a good academic performance.

My mother who was a teacher in charge of the school’s feeding program with her co-teachers, has taken on a difficult duty at this time of pandemic wherein our educational institutions have collapsed and instruction has shifted drastically to distance learning and this must not stop us on ensuring the health and nutrition of students.

They have a weekly plan menu that they are required to be followed and they are the one who will buy the ingredients that are needed and prepare the food that on the menu, once it’s ready they are going to distribute it in the houses of the students here in Lebueg with the help of the LGUs (Local Government Unit). The students are going to line up that observing social distancing to ensure their safety and wait for their turn.

To achieve a significant impact on the nutritional status of children, the feeding shall be done for at least 120 days on June/July of every year and continue until the completion of the target feeding days.

To ensure the improvement in nutritional status and to reduce micronutrient deficiencies for the enhancement of school participation and learning outcomes of our learners they are going to expand the supply of nutritional food and sterilized milk (pasteurized) based on Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act or Republic Act 11307 promotes to address under nutrition and hunger, targeting all undernourished in public day care, kindergarten and elementary schools who are also SBFP beneficiaries for hot meals, for at least 20 feeding days.

In this time of pandemic where students are not able to go outside their parents or guardian will be the one to go to school. Before they are going to receive the milk accompanying with bread and fruit they must fill out a form and have their temperature check for safety protocols.

Parents need to take picture of their child/children drinking the milk that will send via online to their teachers and my mother is the one in charge on making reports that will be submitted in order to monitor the nutritional status of the learners.

According to the National Dairy Development Authority (NDA), the milk feeding program reduced the energy gap by 43.5 percent in children aged 1-3 years and 23.7 percent in children aged 4-6 years. The rationed fresh milk provided roughly 8% of the total energy, 12% of protein, and 41% of calcium intake of the children that took part.

The primary goal of the program is to assist the SBFP by supplying fresh milk as a supplement to the hot meals served to SBFP participants in schools. This would eventually lead to the beneficiaries developing a milk-drinking habit.

The School Based Feeding Program has been adopted over the years to alleviate hunger, reduce nutrient deficiency, improving attendance and school performance, encouraging healthy eating habits and nourishing the growth and development of the learners.

This program help us in different ways and it has a big impact on our future, school feeding programs are making a difference in every student’s life.

Without a question, one of the most important outcomes is that the impact of a school food program on students’ well-being cannot be overstated.

These schools are able to address acute nutritional demands through daily meals. These children are unable to learn without the nutrition provided by these meals.

Malnutrition in children is caused by a lack of food or an unsuitable diet. Parents and/or guardians are responsible for providing food but due to poverty, some people are unable to eat a meal 3 times a day. They can, however, benefit from school feeding programs for their children, which relieve them of the responsibility of feeding their children.

They can focus on other activities because they know their children will eat at school, and this provides a good diet for children, even if it is simple, which aids in their healthy growth and development and it protects the children from nutritional illness.

The school years are crucial not just for physical and mental development, but also for the development of long-term food and lifestyle patterns. With an increase in the number of pupils graduating from school, the world’s economy will improve over time, allowing it to rise above poverty and lead us to a better future.

“Feeding a child at school is such a simple thing but it works miracles and changes the world for every dreamer’s future.

By: Ma. Jonila L. Nanalis of Juan G. Macaraeg National High School (2nd place for the Search for Best Stories and Testimonials