Human Nature, local brands support GK’s Kusina ng Kalinga
(The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - At Sitio Pajo, a poor barangay in Baesa, Quezon City, a small kitchen comes to life before dawn as some 1,300 meals are cooked and packed every day by a handful of volunteers of a group called Kusina ng Kalinga.

A universal school-based feeding program run by Gawad Kalinga, Kusina ng Kalinga serves nutritious lunch meals daily to 18,624 elementary students in the country’s poorest communities through its kitchens in Palo, Alang-Alang, and San Isidro, Leyte; Sitio Pajo in Quezon City; Nagcarlan, Laguna; San Gabriel, La Union and Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat.

Unlike many feeding programs, Kusina ng Kalinga is a sustained initiative that seeks to end a fundamental symptom of poverty – hunger. All students that are part of the program will be able to receive a meal, regardless of their weight or current nutrition status. The meals are based on a recipe book developed in partnership with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology.

“Kusina ng Kalinga started as a response to help mitigate the hunger faced by the children who survived typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan),” shared Gawad Kalinga’s Jose Mari Oquiñena at an event dubbed as Shop & Share.

 Dubbed as a “curated social enterprise fair and night of music”, Shop & Share was the first of two Human Nature-led fundraisers for Kusina ng Kalinga held in December 2015.

The event was in partnership with Robinsons Magnolia. It featured products from eco-friendly fashion brands like Rags2Riches and Habi Footwear, delicious treats from Make Peace Cookies, Kayumanggi Organics, First Harvest, Kabutehan, Golden Duck Eggs, and Bayani Brew. Shoppers enjoyed earth-friendly stationery items from Treehugger, Mori Notes and plant leather brand Jacinto & Lirio as well as bamboo bikes from Bambikes and toys from Plush & Play. Specially-packaged Human Nature Christmas gift bundles were also sold.

“With our seven kitchens, we are not only feeding them, we are giving them a better chance in life, too,” Oquiñena added.

As a result, dropout rates at partner schools have decreased significantly. Parents and teachers who volunteer in kitchen operations are also learning how to cook cost-effective and healthy meals for their own families.

In 2016, Kusina ng Kalinga aims to serve 50,000 meals a day in its partner communities.

“Kusina ng Kalinga and Human Nature are both investing in underserved sectors in order to help them reach their full potential,” shared Anna Meloto-Wilk. “A well-fed and nourished child has better chances of a bright future because they are healthier and more able to cope with the demands of education.”

Meanwhile, craft enthusiasts enjoyed “Craft.Shop.Give.”, a two-day fair featuring crafting workshops and local social enterprises at Ayala Malls Solenad, Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna last Dec. 18 and 19.

Artisans from Rags2Riches showed participants how to make handcrafted purses from cloth rags in its weaving workshop. Calligraphy artist Aina Reyes-Paco also held an exclusive brush pen calligraphy workshop.

DIY lovers learned tips and tricks on how to upcycle old bottles from award-winning graphic artist, painter, and Papemelroti creative director Robert Alejandro. Photography enthusiasts enjoyed a mobile-phone photography workshop by Kusina ng Kalinga’s mobile champion, MyPhone. Laguna-based brand Kuwero, which makes handmade leather notebooks, also supported the event.

With a portion of crafting workshop fees and sales from both events donated to Kusina ng Kalinga, a total of 7,143 meals was raised.

Those who missed the events still have a chance to help raise funds for Kusina ng Kalinga through Human Nature’s Buy 1, Give 1 campaign. Just look for specially marked products at Human Nature branches nationwide. Each purchase donates one meal to Kusina ng Kalinga. Find a Human Nature store via http://humanheartnature.com/buy/index.php/find-a-store. To volunteer at a Kusina ng Kalinga kitchen, email pnierras@gawadkalinga.com.

 

ACIRC AINA REYES-PACO ANNA MELOTO-WILK AT SITIO PAJO ATILDE AYALA MALLS SOLENAD GAWAD KALINGA HUMAN NATURE KALINGA KUSINA QUEZON CITY
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