Miracle Meals Trust January 2013 Newsletter

Miracle Meals Trust is one of the organizations I am partnered with to provide meals for the children at The Ebongalethu Educare Center Preschool & Nursery.  Cindy, Byron, and Elliot from MMT are the wonderful folks that are visiting the EEC and delivering the food to them.  Cindy is also my contact for the EEC and sends me updates and pictures.  Let me introduce you to them!  These are some photos taken at last year’s graduation and Christmas party we were able to provide:

This is Cindy…

…this is Elliot (on the left) and Byron (on the right)!

MMT supports not only the EEC, but many other creches as well.  Take a look at their January 2013 newsletter to see all the amazing work they do!  I wanted to highlight one very important fact stated in this month’s publication:

The “South African Child Gauge 2012” states, “…in the first 1000 days of a child’s life, there is a never-repeated window to fulfill a child’s physical and psychological needs, through nutrition and stimulation, in a way that can have lasting consequences if these needs are unmet.  It has been found that investment into early childhood development can do more than practically anything else to alleviate poverty”.

That is why it is so important to make sure these babies and toddlers have nutritious food everyday and why it is a great benefit for them to be in the care of Gladys and her teachers and aides at the EEC.  Thank you always for your support and helping to give these children a better start and chance at life!

Holiday Party at the Educare Center + A Big Thank You!

One of my most favorite things in the world is to find an email from Cindy with photos of the kids from the Educare Center in my inbox!  It still amazes me how easily we can connect with people from all over the world these days; seeing photos of items that were right next to you only a few days ago that have traveled safely into the arms of a child who lives in another continent or being able to see the children I cook and blog for, that our lives are somehow entwined, even though I have never met them in person (yet)– but I can see exactly who they are!  Even though I get overwhelmed with technology and social media, I also love it because it allows us to communicate with almost anyone anywhere– there’s so much potential and possibilities for all kinds of global partnerships and projects.

I received one of those favorite emails of mine with an update on the kids and what the funds from the Veggie Grill Fundraiser was able to provide right before Thanksgiving!  It was a lovely way to kick start the holiday for me.  My intentions for the fundraiser was so we could provide extra funds (on top of the monthly donations to provide nutritious food) to give the children at the Educare Center a chance to celebrate the holidays with a party, gifts, and food.  It’s also for Gladys (the amazing lady who runs the center) and her helpers, to thank them for all their selfless work they do everyday.

From the fundraising proceeds, Cindy was able to get 70 presents- one for each child.  The boys got a set of eight cars, the girls got a princess toy cellphone that plays music, and the babies got stuffed animals.  They also took cake, juice, chips, sweets, and biscuits along for a yummy spread.  She said when they arrived, the children put on a little show for them, complete with singing and dancing!  Cindy said they were too adorable and after that they put on a funny skit and some of the boys came back dressed as girls and that it was hilarious!  See for yourself :)

{The kids and one of Gladys’ helpers say hello!}

{Singing!}

{The boys being silly and putting on a funny skit :)}

{Gladys in the white baseball hat and Cindy in the purple tee– amazing women}

{What a beautiful smile}

{Cake!  I have never seen one like this before!}

I know I’ve said it before but I really deeply appreciate everyone who came out to support and eat at the Veggie Grill Fundraiser and to the Veggie Grill for their generosity!

Cindy also passed on a message from Gladys who said “Thank you so very much and may God bless you for your kindness.”  I wanted to share this with you too because that thank you is meant for you!

When I first got confirmation of the fundraiser, I started getting worried that nobody would show up, or I wouldn’t raise any money, and is this something I can really do?  We didn’t raise millions but by the sounds and looks from this email, I am happy to say that I believe it was a success :)

Miracle Meals Trust Newsletter

My contact in South Africa is a wonderful lady named Cindy.  She works with Miracle Meals Trust, which she has taken over since the passing of her father, Len.  I was lucky enough to meet Len when I was in SA back in 2007.  He was warm, funny, and also a very talented artist; I was able to see some of the portraits he had painted.  It’s great to be able to work with his daughter whom I did not meet back then but hope to see in the future!  I am happy she and I have connected and I can be a small part of the amazing work Cindy and her team are carrying out each day.  I know she is making her father proud and carrying on his legacy.

Cindy and Miracle Meals Trust work with Food4Africa (which is how I came to know them) to distribute food and support to a variety of different schools and care centers across South Africa.  The Ebongalethu Educare Center is just one of them.  I wanted to share with you MMT’s newsletter that Cindy emailed to me the other day so you can get a better feel of what they do.  The Yummy Year Project is featured on page 3 under sponsor visits; thank you Cindy for such a kind write-up :) and I hope I get to visit sometime soon!

Click here to read Miracle Meal Trust’s October 2011 newsletter!

Update from South Africa!

I was so happy to receive an email from Cindy this morning with an update on The Ebongalethu Educare Center!  Cindy is my contact from Miracle Meal Trust whom I have partnered with, along with Food4Africa, to provide nutritional porridge for the children at this daycare/nursery. (Read more in the about section of this site.)  I have really enjoyed working with Cindy and getting to know her– she is an amazing lady!

Cindy had mentioned in her last email preparations for a Christmas party were being made.  In the past years I have collected toys donated by my wonderful friends and family and sent them over– the only downside about this is that shipping costs just as much as the toys being sent!  With that said, it is much more effective to donate funds and Cindy and her team there can purchase items and save on extra shipping costs.  I know many people prefer to donate actual things but in this case, please consider donating funds due to the issue of shipping.

I am hoping we can raise enough funds for next month so there will be some excess that can go to their Christmas party.  It would be amazing to help get them some educational gifts such as books, games, and art supplies!  Please consider making a donation safely and securely through The Yummy Year Project’s WePay page.  Any amount however big or small is a huge help and greatly appreciated!

My favorite part about updates– the photos!

With the money we have donated, Cindy was able to order small mattresses which should hopefully arrive soon for the children to take naps on as currently they are sleeping on the floor or wherever there is room.  The Ebongalethu Educare Center acts as a pre-school as well as a nursery, run by a lovely lady named Gladys.

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This is the outside of their new classroom:

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This is the inside of their new classroom:

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Here are some pics of the children holding packets of porridge:

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A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported this project thus far whether by donating, sharing links, liking us on facebook, or reading these posts!  It is with your help that providing these children nutritious food is possible!

March Recap: First Aid Kit- Check!

I wanted to give a quick recap of March– the site wasn’t up yet but that is when I started working with Cindy and learning about Gladys and The Ebongalethu Educare Center!

I was able to donate $140 USD (which is about 950 Rand).  Part of that came from a cupcake order from my friend Esther who made a VERY generous donation (I will post up the cupcake recipe soon!), another part of the funds were raised from selling donated clothes to Buffalo Exchange, and the rest was from my daily contributions.  The amount is enough to cover food for one month, as well as fund some extra necessities, which are listed here.

I really wanted to help get TEEC a first aid kit that was on their wishlist because it seemed the most important.  As a kid, I stuck my fingers in the heater and electric sockets and got bruises and scrapes constantly– if those kids are anything like me, a first aid kit would come in handy!

I asked Cindy how much one would cost and got great news in response–  Cindy had called a friend at an Ambulance Service to find out where to buy a good one and she immediately offered to donate one!  What a generous individual!  The kit costs about $75 USD and includes everything from burn packs to disinfectant to splints.

Here are some photos Cindy sent me that were taken on the day she brought Gladys the first aid kit.

The additional funds will now be used to get educational tools or a blanket or two before winter rolls in.  FYI- June, July, and August are South Africa’s winter months.

Thank you to everyone that has stopped by and contributed so far!  It’s super exciting! :)

My hope for this project is for everyone to donate what they can, whether it be $0.50 or $1.00.  With recent global events as well as the economic hardships many people are facing, it may be difficult for the average person to shell out a big amount to donate.  But that’s OK, because if everyone contributes a bit of their spare change (literally) that would be enough! Only $3.30 a day will feed the 60 children being taken care of at TEEC.  Truly, every little bit helps!

OK I am off make some dinner!  Unfortunately, I don’t have internet hooked up at my place yet so I will be posting the recipe tomorrow AM.  Stay tuned to see what vegan tuna salad looks like!