“Feedie” and The Lunchbox Fund Fight Childhood Hunger in South AfricaAccording to the Lunchbox Fund, 12 million South African children under the age of six are living below the poverty line. Unsurprisingly, this means that a fifth of households in South Africa experience continual hunger.

This has daunting consequences. Lack of adequate nutrition can cause growth stunting. In fact, 27 percent of children under the age of five have stunted growth in South Africa. In many cases this is irreversible. Malnutrition causes not only physical damage but mental deterioration as well. It negatively affects children’s learning ability and capacity to concentrate. When the top priority of a household is to fulfill hunger, and it struggles in doing so, the importance of school drops to a negligible level.

An app and a nonprofit have partnered to fight this problem and reduce childhood hunger in South Africa.


Feedie is an app that allows food lovers to share photos of their meals on social media pages. However, this is not just any food photography app. It allows foodies to take their love of photographing food to a humanitarian level.

With the app, people can upload photos of their meals at participating restaurants, and that restaurant will donate 25 cents to the Lunchbox Fund, which provides lunches for impoverished South African schoolchildren. There are approximately 100 participating restaurants, including Del Posto, The Spotted Pig and La Esquina in New York.

The Lunchbox Fund

The Lunchbox Fund is a nonprofit that focuses on childhood hunger in South Africa. They work to provide a daily nutritious meal to orphaned and poor school children in townships and rural communities in South Africa. They believe that food insecurity should not inhibit children from achieving a basic human right: going to school.

The Lunchbox Fund has created a menu revolving around nutritious foods that children love, including maize, rice, lentils, beans, samp, gravy, soya mince, porridge, soy milk, 100 percent juice, peanut butter and vegetables. These meals have been approved by the Nutrition Information Centre at the University of Stellenbosch, ensuring that they contain adequate amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients that are essential to healthy brain and body development.

They work in all nine provinces and are dedicated to providing daily lunch meals to schoolchildren yearly. The Lunchbox Fund has calculated that 4,719,480 meals are necessary to feed vulnerable children in all provinces. They aim to reach four million children that do not receive government food subsidies at school.

Successes and Donations

The Lunchbox Fund has been feeding children since 2005. Since its birth, it has served an impressive 14.4 million meals. Just in 2017, 4.9 million meals were served. Even more astounding is that 25,000 children receive meals every day.

Schools that have nutrition programs tend to see higher academic achievement among students. Attendance and academic retention increases when children can focus and look forward to eating a fulfilling meal. Schools partnered with the Lunchbox Fund can expect to experience these trends.

Every cent that is donated goes toward fighting childhood hunger in South Africa. Impressively, if the average amount of money that Americans spend weekly on groceries ($151) were donated, it would feed three students for an entire year. This illustrates the huge impact that an inexpensive meal can have on a child’s health and education. The success of the Lunchbox Fund can serve as a model to help children at risk of hunger all over the world.

– Mary McCarthy

Photo: Flickr

In 2001, the Indian Supreme Court mandated the implementation of a mid-day school lunch program with the explicit goal of feeding 120 million Indian children daily. For years, this program has been credited with increasing school attendance throughout India, as well as serving as a boon to a large malnourished population. This school lunch program has come under considerable scrutiny when, in a single day, two separate schools shut down with ill children-25 of which have died this past week. While politicians dodge accusations of corruption, many have made it clear that without adequate regulation, this program faces an uncertain future.

In 2001, the developing nation of India was, as it is today, plagued with undernourished and undereducated children. While entering the arena of developed nations was, as it is today, a major goal of India, the government understood that with undernourished and undereducated children, their goals would be harder to meet.

It may come as a surprise to many, but India has had a long culture of ensuring food for their young. Dating back to 1925, the Mid-Day Meal Program has grown from providing food to disadvantaged children of the Madras Municipal Corporation to feeding 120 million across the country.

The benefits of such a program are multi-faceted. On one hand, the program serves as an incentive for children to attend school and become educated. Where students don’t have adequate nutrition, lethargy makes learning near impossible. Through strict nutritional requirements, the program aimed to curb this issue. On the other, the program gives young children the nutrition necessary for healthy mental and physical development.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development reports “food norms have been revised to ensure balanced and nutritious diet to children of upper primary group by increasing the quantity of pulses from 25 to 30 grams, vegetables from 65 to 75 grams and by decreasing the quantity of oil and fat from 10 grams to 7.5 grams.”

Without any doubt, India’s recent economic growth has been impressive. Yet, despite the countries bourgeoning transformation into a powerful player, certain growth indicators remain stunted. With the United Nations Children’s Fund has reported that India boasts one third of the words undernourished children, programs such as the Mid-Day lunch program are crucial to further development.

With the events of the passed week, this program is under fire. In a matter of hours, 25 children from the Bihar state went from a health, happy disposition to vomiting, diarrhea, and death. Concurrently, in a nearby Bihar district, 60 children were hospitalized after exhibiting traits food poisoning.

After cursory investigation, the culprit was found to be cooking oil stored in a used insecticide container. With this revelation, charges of corruption levels of deregulation have been levied against all levels of government. Saurabh Sharma, a representative of New Delhi non-profit JOSH, has stated that “the government has no monitoring system about the quality of food”, he continues “the school principal will blame the private contractor who will blame the government for paying as little as four rupees [6 cents] per meal.”

With an incensed citizenry, many feel the program, or at least the breadth of the program will suffer unless adequate regulation is implemented. Without any doubt, such a program is absolutely necessary and absolutely zero patience should be afforded to government corruption. India’s future depends on it.

– Thomas van der List
Sources: Unicef, MDM, Christian Science Monitor, CNN
Photo: International Science Times

UAE Exchange Joins Fight Against World Hunger
UAE Exchange has announced a new partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting world hunger. UAE announced a donation in support of WFP’s school feeding program in Africa, which will help fund 100,000 meals for poor students. The donation was made as part of UAE Exchange’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program. The CSR mandate also spans across various other countries, as the foreign exchange brand works to make a difference in the world while helping to improve child health and education in Africa.

“As a brand, which mainly serves the ‘bottom-of-the-pyramid’ segment, we understand the importance of scarcity in life, especially that of food. We are more than glad to associate with the WFP for the cause,” said Mr. Y Sudhir Kumar Shetty, COO-Global Operations, UAE Exchange.

Mr. Pomoth Manghat, Vice President of UAE Exchange’s Global Operations observes that while Africa may often be a focus for business reasons, the continent lacks many basic needs such as food security that need to be addressed. Furthermore, many children do not have the energy to walk to school or concentrate in the classroom due to a lack of food and nutrition.

School meals encourage parents to send their children to school and enable students to perform at their full potential. Daily school meals make a huge difference because giving these children the opportunity to get an education leads to a better future for them, their families, and their communities. The school-feeding program will include take-home rations so the students are motivated to attend school, and in turn, increase enrollment. UAE Exchange plans to continue to offer support to WFP in the years to come.

– Ali Warlich

Source: Khaleej Times, UAE Exchange
Photo: WFP