Posts Tagged ‘Tagum City Rotary Club’

PEOPLE TO WATCH: CHEF DAVID WASSON AND THE TAGUM CITY FOOD BANK: ONE YEAR LATER

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

 

 


 

 

 

CHEF DAVID WASSON 

 

AND THE

 

TAGUM CITY FOOD BANK

 

FEEDING THE MALNOURISHED CHILDREN OF MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES

 


ONE YEAR LATER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally posted the feature on Chef David Wasson last summer (2010), just two months after he opened the Tagum City Food Bank. 

David Wasson's heart is as huge as his talent.  A Seattle based professional Chef who had arrived in Mindanao to retire, Wasson found hungry children — hundreds of them –and he couldn't bear it.  Many of the families were so poor, they couldn't afford to feed their children every day.  These were children whom he determined to be both malnourished and severely malnourished.   

 

 

Wasson did what he knew he had to do:  Together with the Tagum City Rotary Club and the Chef and Child Foundation, he opened a Food Bank for the children and the families of Mindanao.   

It soon became evident, however, that his Tagum City Food Bank, was no ordinary food bank.  In addition to preparing and serving his luscious meals, Wasson offered weekly nutrition sessions for the Moms, so they could learn how to properly feed their children.  With each session, he gave away bags of rice, so the children could eat regular meals through the week.

 

 

 

Over time, the Tagum families became his family.  Wasson noticed that a number of the children had cleft palates and clubbed feet.   He made sure these children had transport to the clinic in town, where their palates and feet could be repaired.  He paid any extraneous medical expenses from his own savings. 

Now, one year later, and Wasson has become one of the most beloved figures in Mindanao.    For him, the children are paramount.  Each one of them reminds him of why he is there and the work that needs to be done.

In honor of the Tagum City Food Bank’s one year anniversary, Action Now+Network is reposting the feature on Chef David Wasson and his inspiring journey from successful Seattle chef to Director of the Tagum City Food Bank, of Mindanao, Philippines. 

Below is a note from Chef Wasson, an update on the progress made in the last year at the Food Bank.

 

Tagum City Food Bank 1st Anniversary Celebration!

When: July 8th 2011 at 10:30 am

 

Since opening, the RC Tagum City Food Bank has restored all the severely mal nourished 1 to 6 year old children in Barangays Mankilam, Apokon, San Agustin and San Miguel, and we have served Barangay Pagsabangan for 3 weeks.

 

 

 

168 children total have been restored to healthy weight. We have helped two sisters with clubbed feet regain normal feet; two boys with cleft palates enter the RCTN clinic for restoration, and conducted a medical mission in Mankilam.

 

 

TCFB was awarded citations from the City Nutrition department, Barangays Apokon, San Miguel, Busaon and Mankilam.

We have established a safe system for all donations to protect them from graft, and a web page where we get donations through a Pay Pal Charity account.

After the first year the Tagum City Food Bank is well on its way to being a clearly sustainable project for the good of Tagum City’s’ poorest children. We spent 1,200 Php (roughly $27 usd) to restore each child to normal weight, gave their mothers a class every week on Nutrition, distributed Christmas gifts to the children of Apokon and gave these families HOPE for their future.

 

 

In this year we believe that at the current rate we will restore another 200 severely malnourished children to healthy weight. If we are able to increase our donations we would be able to double this figure to 400 by serving two Barangays each week. I am a member of The Rotary Club of Tagum City. 17135, Dist. 3860.

 

Thank you each for your support and more power!

 

 

MAKE A DONATION TO THE TAGUM CITY FOOD BANK

 

Tagum City Food bank

Statistics for June 27, 2011
Year to date (since July 23rd 2010)
Rice purchased to date: 4,350 kg
Hot meals served: 1,722
Severe cases restored: 168
Spent on hot meals: 69,300 php
3 kg bags distributed: 1317 (plus 50 1 kg bags)
spent on vitamins: 8580 php
TTl spent TCFB: 200,905 php

FACEBOOK PAGE

BELOW IS THE POST FROM SUMMER, 2010

 

 


SUPERSTAR HERO: DAVID WASSON

 

 

DAVID WASSON


 ACCLAIMED SEATTLE CHEF OPENS A FOOD BANK


 FOR MALNOURISHED CHILDREN IN THE PHILIPPINES

 

 

 

"I was trying to retire, but I just can’t find it in myself to walk away, comfortable in life, and leave

malnourished children standing there. I just can’t do it."


 

 

 

David Wasson, award winning Seattle chef and cooking instructor, left his successful career to retire in the Philippines, where he expected to lead a peaceful and quiet existence.  

Once there, however, he found that life didn't oblige his expectations.   Food — something most of us easily find steps away, in our kitchens or in favorite restaurants, is a  scarce commodity in Mindanao, where he decided to make his home.  Wasson observed families living in poverty, who had no access to nutritious food, and in many cases, could not afford to feed their children even a meager meal, each day.   As a professional chef and educator, and especially,  as a Dad, he couldn't bear to see hungry and sometimes, starving, children.    

 

Wasson, who now is the Chef and Child Foundation Ambassador to the Philippines, did what he knew he had to do.    In July, 2010,  he founded the Tagum City Food Bank where he feeds children who are often profoundly malnourished, and teaches the mothers, at weekly classes, about  breast feeding, nutrition,  healthy eating habits, and how to take charge of their own lives.  His compelling story, below, is a true-life tale of compassion, love, and commitment to life.

 

CHEF DAVID WASSON'S STORY

I retired and moved here from Seattle in 2008, looking for a quiet and peaceful end to my life. After moving to Mindanao (which is considered dangerous even by Filipino standards), I was invited to a “Thanksgiving” celebration at Purok Garciaville.

 

 LOOKS ARE DECEIVING

I was struck by the weight of the children, and in speaking with the Barangay Health Worker, I began to see some serious problems that are not always so obvious. Yes, the children are happy, clean, mostly well dressed and not usually “looking” distressed – but looks, in Mindinao,  are quite deceiving.

In some cases you will see children wearing really old or torn and dirty clothes — but only when the family is living in extreme poverty or when there is no mother around. They get some clothes donated by the church, and there are secondhand shops (called “okay-okay” and mostly from Japan or Korea) where you can buy used clothes really cheap, for less than a dollar.  

 

These children may look healthy and well dressed, but are actulally

some of the most malnourished among all the children 

Chef Wasson serves. Photo: Courtesy Chef David Wasson

 

Also, there is a cultural feeling about cleanliness. The people may not have food. They may live in a dirt floored nipa hut, but they sweep it three times a day and, by God, they are not going to look dirty to the world. If they go out, even to the food bank, they will shower and wear the best clothes they can. It is called “face.” 

It is when you realize how old these children are,  that you see how bad their condition is: There are children two years old who can’t make 5 kilos (11 pounds). Their hair is falling out. And they are already developing heart conditions.

As I started feeding the kids in Mindanao every other week, and then once a week, I began to see that they needed to eat every day to really gain their weight. I also did some research on malnutrition  and its long-term effects on children, as well as gathered statistical information on malnutrition in the Philippines.   

I learned that two-thirds of all malnourished children are in Southeast Asia. One percent are in America. Twenty-five percent are in Africa.

Official data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) (2006) shows that  56.9% of households did not meet the recommended nutrient energy intake/requirement. Out of 100 Filipino children 0–5 years old, about 25 are underweight (suffering from current malnutrition), 26 are stunted (chronic malnutrition), and 5 are wasted (acute malnutrition).

 

NO CHILD IS A "WASTED" EFFORT

That word, wasted… I just can’t concede that any child is a wasted effort. Statistically, those children are very close to death and heart problems… wasted… wasted lives… No! It gives me a physical reaction and I want to say, “No! Those five ‘wasted’ lives will not be wasted. No!”

When I first came to Mindanao, I saw a society that is struggling. Schools here, including the public schools, cost the parents money. It is not uncommon for a family to have as many as 9 children, so school, any medical care, and food are often “divided” among the children.

This little girl is almost two years old and weighs less than 2 kilos (11 pounds).

Her thinning hair is also a sign of severe malnutrition. Photo: Courtesy Chef David Wasson


THESE CHILDREN DON'T GET TO EAT EVERY DAY; SOME ARE SO UNDERWEIGHT THAT THEIR BRAINS AND BODIES WON'T DEVELOP NORMALLY

The main deficiency is their weight, because these children don’t get to eat every day. I use the BMI Index  to classify the children as officially malnourished, which just means they are so skinny and underweight that their brains and bodies won’t develop normally. It’s really very dangerous for their (our) future.

As an educator and retired chef, I see a desperate need to provide food for these children. Mass feedings (250 kids at a time) are the simplest way to help.   I started with two feedings a month, which I paid for out of my $350 USD/month teacher’s pension.

As I feed the children, the Purok health care workers record their weight, which is thoroughly documented for their records and mine.   It was, and still is, immediately apparent that while these children have homes and family, they are woefully malnourished and dangerously underweight.   For example, one 10-year-old girl barely made 16 kilos weight (35.2 pounds).

I realized that to help them gain and maintain a healthy weight, they would have to eat everyday.

 

 THE GENESIS OF THE TAGUM CITY FOOD BANK

So, I went to the Purok leaders and presented the idea of a food bank to them, which they readily embraced. They donated a building for the purpose of installing a food bank there. I spent about $300 USD to remodel the building, got all city licenses, satisfied all international banking laws, and opened the Tagum City Food Bank on July 23, 2010, with the help of Rotary Club of Tagum City and the Chef and Child Foundation.

The Purok leaders have records of every child who lives there, and they know who needs the food. The 24 most severely malnourished children of Mankilam are down 40% of their body weight! They now have food bank cards that allow them to receive 3 kilos of rice and other canned goods every Saturday. We need at least 200 kilos of rice each week to make that possible. 

In July, I purchased 14,000 grams of powdered milk. We are giving each of the 218 malnourished kids (1 – 5 years old) in Barangay Mankilam powdered milk every day for 120 days in an effort to raise their weight a bit. We take their weight, feed them and their mothers rice and gulay (sautéed vegetables), and give a one-hour class to the mothers.

By the third weekly feeding at the new food bank, we already had children who graduated to normal weight!  Lloyd Bayate, 72 months old weighed 13 kilos; on August 7; he weighed 14.5 kilos. Nicole Reyes, 32 months old weighed 10 kilos; now she weighs 11.8 kilos. Jenny Dal, 42 months old, weighed 11 kilos; now she weighs 12.5 kilos. Jericho Sabijon, 59 months old, weighed 12 kilos; now he weighs 14 kilos. All are now normal-weight children! But there are so many more to go.

 

 

David Wasson feeds 250 children a week at the Tagum City Food Bank

Photo: Courtesy Chef David Wasson



WEEKLY CLASSES ON NUTRITION AND HEALTHY EATING EMPOWER THE MOTHERS TO PROVIDE A BETTER LIFE FOR THEIR FAMILIES 

The Food Bank has some another wonderful byproduct.

Because mothers and children congregate in one place each week, we have been taking advantage of a captive audience to provide education on food and nutrition.  These classes actually bring the community together — it helps the mothers connect with their local government and with each other. These classes give them and the children hope for the future, a truly remarkable commodity.

There are no financial requirements of the children or the parents, and we serve all religions and political views without question

 

WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE?

While there are many needs on this planet, this is one place to start the process of daily feeding that is sustainable and not expensive. I hope to see it grow to every Barangay in Mindanao.  

(As for me ) I get up every single day, and try to do what I can to get these children some food. I see the face of every child in the world, who isn’t sure if he or she will really get to eat fresh hot food.  

I was trying to retire, but I just can’t find it in myself to walk away, comfortable in life, and leave malnourished children standing there. I just can’t do it.

 

POSTSCRIPT: DIARY LOG: SEPTEMBER 21, 2010

Today we had a Medical Mission at the Food Bank. 6 pediatritians checked the severely mal nourished (60) for heat disease etc. They will be able to refer some of the worst cases to free clinics for surgery. There are 4 children with cleft lips for example, and two with club feet.

 

MAKE A DONATION TO THE TAGUM CITY FOOD BANK: FOR $5.33 PER WEEK,  A CHILD CAN BE RESTORED TO NORMAL WEIGHT.

It is mind-boggling to think that $5.33 per week (the cost of two Starbucks nonfat lattes) can mean the difference between life and death to a child.

The Rotary Club of Tagum City has a foundation through which donations can be made to the Tagum City Food Bank. 

The Tagum City Food Bank is a 501(c)3 organization, and all contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of U.S. law.  

The need is urgent.  These children depend on the Food Bank for daily meals.  For $5.33 per week, I can restore a child to normal weight.

 Thank you in advance for any help you can give these kids. 100% of donations are spent on rice and other foods.  

 

 

 

 

THE TAGUM CITY FOOD BANK

c/o Ambassador David Wasson CCC, CCE
8345 NW 66th St
#2816
Miami Florida 33166

 

 

CONTACT CHEF DAVID WASSON 


E-mail:  CHEF3@TEACHER.COM

 

Find Tagus City Food Bank on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tagum-City-Food-bank/141204399234728?v=wall

 


This article is reprinted from  Blue Planet Green Living.  



 

 


Did you like this? Share it: