In 2012, over six million children under the age of five died (WHO, 2013); more than 45% of those children died of causes linked to malnutrition. Malnourished children are more susceptible to severe diseases. If you do the math, close to 3.5 million children die annually as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM)—more than HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
Think about being hunger after having worked through lunch. Imagine that sinking, empty feeling that makes your stomach growl eventually causing hunger pains. As a result of this you become lethargic, unfocused and irritable. Imagine feeling that way day in and day out for days on end. Now, replace the image of yourself feeling this way with the image of your child at 3 years old. It sucks, huh?
I could write about how we, in the United States, live in a society where we waste close to forty percent of our food. I could even go on a rant about how the average American spends $1092 per year on coffee. But, I won’t. What I will do is tell you about an organization that is focused on getting malnourished, dying children fed.
After five years of working alongside a number of global humanitarian organizations in Malawi, Africa, one of the world’s least developed countries, Laguna Niguel, California resident Stan Smith realized that Malawi’s nutritional challenges would persist despite digging water wells, building schools, developing livestock programs, and providing a range of other customary humanitarian efforts. He witnessed the deadly effects of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and was determined to find a better way to combat this devastating epidemic.
In March 2012, Stan Smith recruited his friends Brian Hunsaker, Donna Wertz, Heather Premac, and Haley Hunsaker, to create PB+J Foods, Inc., a non-profit organization designed specifically to eradicate Severe Acute Malnutrition in underdeveloped nations, like Malawi.
“To beat SAM we were going to have to do more than what typical humanitarian organizations do to feed the hungry,” Smith explains. “We had to develop a way locally manufacture Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic-Foods (RUTF), to distribute RUFTs to remote villages, to provide locals with medical treatment and health care education, and we had to create a localized, self-sustaining economy that could provide for its people on an on-going basis.”
PB+J Foods has an ambitious goal for 2014. It is now working to secure financial donations to expand its infrastructure to:
manufacture and serve RUTFs to 11,000 children suffering from SAM
to provide medical treatment to 1,000 children at Nkhoma Hospital and area clinics
to increase employment at the local PB+J RUTF production facility, and
to sell locally produced RUTFs on the open market to create revenues that will enable the PB+J programs in Malawi to become self-sustaining and provide RUTF products at no charge to their patients.
Donations may be contributed at http://bdash.ca/?url=MTA5Mzg5MQ== or by calling 949-702-3187.