65% of all South African children live in poverty. And nearly 20% of all children in South Africa are orphans, with approximately 1.9 Million of those children orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. (source)
This causes a great need for food provision, especially in schools. Providing lunch for these children encourages them to stay in school and continue with their education. Let’s learn about one hypothetical child’s story, we’ll call her Lilanie. Lilanie is a young, bright, school-aged child with a zest for life. She loves jumping rope, taking care of her little brother, and her laugh is absolutely contagious! Lilanie walks to school every day, tummy rumbling, as she looks forward to not only learning, but to actually eating a meal. This meal, provided by organizations like the Lunchbox fund, may be the only meal that young Lilanie receives for the day. Because Lilanie’s parents are affected by HIV/AIDS, they are unable to work and provide for their family, and then she, along with many other children, is often sent to find a source of food. When she isn’t able to get the food she needs to nourish her little body, her concentration and willpower diminishes and her potential is stripped away. Compound that with prevalence of HIV/AIDS or the trauma of losing parents and loved ones, without food, Lilanie’s attendance and performance at school is severely jeopardized.
My brother, Dylan, spent 2 1/2 years serving in the Peace Corps in Mozambique, which is an African country nestled along the border of South Africa. Although they are two separate countries, Mozambique and South Africa share a lot of the same beauty and a lot of the same hardships. Dylan served schools in the area where he lived, and said he frequently saw children, like Lilanie, who were forced to find food for themselves and their family because their parents were too sick from HIV/AIDS to find work or food. It saddens me deeply that children are left with this responsibility and if they don’t receive a meal at school, they may not eat at all.
This is where the Giving Table and the Lunchbox Fund comes in…this is where YOU come in! Through our support, the Lunchbox fund will be able to provide a daily meal to Lilanie and 100 other South African school children for at least an entire year! Think about all of the hungry bellies and brains being nourished. Think of all the potential that encourages for those 100 boys and girls! Please visit The Giving Table’s page and join me in donating to such a great cause. Just $10 can feed a child what may be their only meal for the day. Will you join me in nourishing a young child’s belly and mind?
Watch the video below to find out more about the Lunchbox Fund and how you can help!
Inspired by an African staple Sukuma Wiki, which literally means ‘stretch the week’, I created this flavorful and satisfying lunch that packs a nutritional punch! This dish usually consists of collard greens with tomatoes, but instead of tomatoes I used butternut squash and added dried cranberries, making it more of a sweet and spicy, bold-flavored, cold weather dish.
adapted from this recipe
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 lb ground bison or beef, preferably grass-fed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed, chiffonade (cut into about 1″ strips)
1/2 c dried cranberries
In a large skillet, warm coconut oil and add onion, butternut squash, and jalapeno. Saute on medium heat for about 12 minutes, or until squash is slightly tender. Add ground bison and all dry spices, and cook until meat is no longer pink and squash is tender, about 7 minutes. Toss in garlic and saute until fragrant. Add collard greens and saute until wilted. Squeeze lemon over greens and toss in cranberries. Season to taste adding more salt or pepper, if needed. Serve hot.
(This dish reheated very well the next day, helping me to ‘stretch the week’!)