Today we celebrate International School Meals day with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). PCI and USDA partner together to provide more than 200,000 school meals every day in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Tanzania – giving children a healthy start to their day and their lives.

Now, thanks to additional support from USDA, PCI will continue to implement these programs over the next five years in Guatemala and Tanzania, reaching not only school children, but hundreds of thousands of parents, teachers, and community members every year.

No matter what country they live in, Moms and Dads go through the same ritual every morning of racing to get children ready for school–Bathing, dressing, ensuring no books or assignments get left behind. And while every parent wants to give their child breakfast and send her off with a lunch in hand, not all families can provide this. World hunger facts reflect that hundreds of million people in the world do not have enough to eat.

One way PCI is working to end hunger is through our McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program  in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program provides nutritious meals for students around the world – although what they get is so much more than a meal. Filling these students’ stomachs allows them to concentrate on their studies, grow up healthy, and reach their full potential. In addition to ensuring students are prepared to learn, we also work to improve the quality of literacy instruction they receive by providing materials and preparing teachers.

The program even reaches outside the classroom through activities like:

  • Encouraging parents to be involved in their children’s education
  • Matching local farmers to schools so the students can receive meals made from fresh, nutritious produce
  • Creating Women Empowered savings and lending groups for women
  • Increasing community understanding of the benefits of education

All of the components of the program are designed to work together to create a stronger community that values education and has the resources for everyone to reach their potential, from the classroom and beyond. Parents, communities and local governments contribute close to one third of the food required for school meals. Each year local contributions will increase,   so that by the end of the project school meals can be provided fully through local contributions.

The video above shows Ana’s and Violet’s families in Guatemala and Tanzania and how the McGovern-Dole Food for Education program is helping them achieve their dreams. Watch it to learn more about how this PCI and USDA partnership is making a lasting impact in communities around the world.