Tag Archives: Edesia

Running to Save Children from Deadly Malnutrition

A mother attends to her severely malnourished child at an inpatient feeding centre in Mao, Chad. Plumpy'Nut is used to treat this potentially deadly condition (UNICEF Chad/2011/ Esteve)

A mother attends to her severely malnourished child at an inpatient feeding centre in Mao, Chad. Plumpy’Nut is used to treat this potentially deadly condition (UNICEF Chad/2011/ Esteve)

Recently, I wrote about how you can raise money to fight global hunger by running and using the Charity Miles app. My fellow writer and runner, Elizabeth Paff, is joining in on this mission with a slightly different spin.

Elizabeth (Biz) is going to run and raise money for a food called Plumpy’Nut that saves the lives of starving children around the world. For every minute Biz runs through December 14, I will make a donation to Edesia, a non-profit organization that produces the Plumpy’Nut.

Each donation will buy a Plumpy’Nut meal (about 33 cents) which consists of a peanut paste fortified with crucial nutrients for children under the age of five. Without these nutrients small children can suffer lasting physical and mental damage.

Plumpy’Nut (as well as its variations like Plumpy’Sup) are currently being used in emergencies such as the conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Plumpy’Nut, which comes in a packet, is a food that can be easily distributed in these dangerous areas as it requires no refrigeration or preparation. In crisis areas there is a race against time to reach the hungry and especially the smallest children as they are the most vulnerable.

When the massive famine and drought struck East Africa last year it was Plumpy’Nut that saved many lives. When famine threatened the Sahel region of Africa this year Plumpy’Nut was again called into action. Edesia, which was recently featured on New England’s Chronicle TV show, produces Plumpy’Nut for aid groups like the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and others to use in the field.

Biz is a member of the Leadership Pathways program at the College of Mount St. Joseph, and is an activist fighting hunger. She will log her miles at Mount St. Joseph’s indoor track. I hope others will sponsor her running too and make the donations to Edesia as I am. This will make an inspired holiday gift. I am already counting her runs both Tuesday and Wednesday of 40 minutes each to the tally. So please join in.

Visit Edesia’s website.

Article first published as Running to Save Children from Deadly Malnutrition on Blogcritics.

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Special Food Can Save Malnourished Children in Yemen

If enough packets of supplementary plumpy are brought to Yemen it can allievate much of the child malnutrition ongoing there. The plumpy is easy to store since it requires no refrigeration and packets are ready to eat. (photo courtesy of Plumpyfield)

UNICEF Yemen is reporting stunting rates among children at 71.4 percent in the Rayma governorate of central Yemen. Children who are stunted by lack of nutrition fail to reach expected height and weight for their age.

Another UNICEF survey revealed global acute malnutrition rates among children in the Lahj governorate of southern Yemen at 23 percent. Children who suffer this malnutrition have lasting physical and mental damage unless they are treated.

Child malnutrition is severe throughout Yemen. UNICEF says, “967,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition. In certain areas of the country, the acute malnutrition rate exceeds 30 per cent, twice the emergency threshold.” Until this crisis is alleviated Yemen will not be able to gain stability for its future. The question is, what action can be taken?

A full supply of supplementary plumpy (plumpy’sup) food for all needy children in Yemen would provide the nation with a break from the malnutrition storm. Supplementary plumpy, and plumpy’doz, are peanut pastes designed to keep children from falling into the most severe levels of malnutrition. When children reach the most desperate stage of malnutrition they are generally fed life-saving plumpy’nut. Yemen needs a supply of plumpy’nut too to treat the most severe malnutrition cases.

But if the rest of the child population at risk of malnutrition can be reached with supplementary plumpy you can prevent this last resort.

Dr. Wisam Al-timimi of UNICEF Yemen says, “Supplementary plumpy is the 1st stage to treat the moderate cases of acute malnutrition (MAM).” UNICEF is teaming with the UN World Food Programme to increase coverage of supplementary plumpy and plumpy’doz for children under two years of age.

Navyn Salem of Edesia, which produces Plumpy’Nut and Plumpy’Sup, says it’s a “good strategy” to treat children ahead of time with Plumpy’Sup to prevent their dangerous descent into severe malnutrition. Salem says it “costs less and it is of course better for the children to be reached sooner than later.”

Funding, though, will be an obstacle, as donations are needed so UNICEF, WFP, and other aid agencies can get the necessary supplies. These agencies rely completely on voluntary donations which are often hard to get even though food aid is relatively inexpensive.

Both WFP and UNICEF are limited in plumpy supply due to funding constraints. As of last month UNICEF Yemen only had 30 percent of the funding it needed for a $24 million program to fight child malnutrition. With extra funding they would increase the defenses against child malnutrition.

Support from governments and the public would go a long way toward stabilizing the country and preventing a generation of children from being damaged from malnutrition in the first thousand days of life.

UNICEF Yemen has a relief fund that the public can use to contribute funds to the relief effort. The UNICEF programs needs more support. Susannah Masur of UNICEF USA says “it’s been very difficult to raise money for the nutrition crisis in Yemen.”

The public can also contact the UN World Food Programme and ask about direct donation to their operation in Yemen. Governments can work with UNICEF and WFP and provide donations to make sure they have the resources on the ground to help all the children in Yemen.

Article first published as Special Food Can Save Malnourished Children in Yemen on Blogcritics.

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This Christmas Feed a Silent Guest and End World Hunger

The Providence-based Edesia will be making plumpy'nut this Christmas Eve to feed malnourished children in Chad (photo courtesy of Edesia)

Imagine if every person gave a gift this Christmas to a “silent guest,” one of the world’s hungry. During Christmas 1947, Americans did just that, continuing the successful “silent guest” program started in Thanksgiving of that year by a former aspiring actress named Iris Gabriel.

People imagined a “silent guest” at their holiday meal, and donated the cost of the imaginary food plate to buy a CARE package. These packages fed many thousands in countries overseas rebuilding from World War II.

This Christmas Eve a company called Edesia will be making packages of plumpy’nut to send to the African nation of Chad. Food is out of reach for the many poor in Chad, a country where drought and conflict have taken their toll. The smallest children pay the heaviest price unless the outside world intervenes with foods like plumpy’nut.

Plumpy’nut is a special package of food that saves infants from succumbing to dangerous malnutrition. There is no more important gift these children can receive.

Edesia accepts donations so you can help them fill this plumpy’nut order to Chad.One dollar actually buys several little packages, or sachets, of plumpy. Their plant has also produced this peanut paste for East Africa, Yemen, Guatemala, Haiti and Pakistan. Aid agencies like the World Food Programme, UNICEF and others distribute the plumpy’nut in these countries.You can make “silent guest” donations to these organizations at their respective web sites.

There are also ways you can feed a silent guest simply by playing on your computer. If you play the online game Free Rice, 10 grains of rice are donated to the hungry every time you get a correct answer. The rice is paid for by advertisers on the site.

There are many ways you can give a holiday gift to a silent guest at your holiday celebration. Happy Holidays!

See also Commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle: What you can do today to help end world hunger.

Article first published as This Christmas Feed a Silent Guest and End World Hunger on Blogcritics.

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She Wanted to Mourn, But Chose to Save A Life

In my article Armistice Day, World Peace and Feeding the Hungry, I talk about the amazing work of the Belgian Relief Commission. They fed the hungry in Belgium, as well as Northern France, during World War One and in its aftermath.

One of its anonymous donors was a woman who wanted to buy flowers for a friend’s grave. She wanted to mourn. But she also was aware of the Belgian relief fund which had been collecting donations. She considered the two choices and decided to spend the 2 dollars on the Belgian relief fund. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported, “The possibility of saving a child in Belgium from starvation was the reason given” for her donation.

Two dollars in 1917 was worth about 2 months’ of meals. Frederick Chatfield, Cincinnati Branch Commissioner for relief in Belgium, reported the anonymous woman’s donation in an article discussing contributions and shipping. He said, “Cincinnati has responded splendidly to our appeal.”

The food sustained millions trapped by the fighting of World War One. In an article published by the newspaper in late 1916, Milton Brown wrote from Belgium, “Herbert Hoover, who heads the commission, is a remarkable man. He describes his job as feeding a kitten with a 40-foot pole, the kitten being in a cage between two hungry lions.”

On this Armistice Day, a two dollar donation could actually achieve close to two weeks’ worth of meals in countries suffering from conflict, natural disaster or extreme poverty. It could mean plumpy’nut to save small children from potentially deadly malnutrition; or it could mean school meals that not only prevent malnutrition, but help keep children learning in school.

There are tremendous needs around the globe today, and many ways you can help. Catholic Relief Services has set up an East Africa Relief Fund to fight the famine and drought there. Save the Children is collecting donations to help feed and give medicine to victims of massive floods which have struck Thailand.

Edesia, a producer of plumpy’nut, is holding a fundraiser titled the 11-11-11 project. Plumpy’nut is a special peanut paste desperately needed in many countries including Sudan, Guatemala, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has a We Feedback campaign which is like taking in a Silent Guest, one of the world’s hungry, at your next meal. WFP also has the online game called Free Rice which raises money for the hungry, and is free for the user to play.

To help those who are hungry within the United States, Feeding America supports a network of emergency food banks.

Article first published as She Wanted to Mourn, But Chose to Save A Life on Blogcritics.

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Plumpy’nut: A Modern-Day CARE Package

CARE Packages were sent to the hungry after World War II and this continued even during the Korean War and the early years of the Cold War struggle. In this photo, "Children of a refugee family from East Germany crowd close to get a better view of the foods in the CARE Package they received soon after they arrived in West Berlin." (photo courtesy CARE)

If you went shopping after World War II, you could walk into a store and make a life-saving purchase. Even if you were at home, you could do the same great deed simply through mail order. What was this mystery item people bought by the thousands after the war?

These were CARE packages to send to hungry people in countries lying in ruin. General Lucius Clay, commander of the American military government in Germany, made appeals to the public to send these packages. So did many others from all walks of life. This is how America reacted to the plight of those suffering overseas.

General Clay wrote, “when a CARE package arrived the consumer knew it was aid from America and that even the bitterness of war had not destroyed our compassion for suffering.”

You had several options when buying a CARE package. There were general rations which you could send to a family, or you could have these sent to an orphanage or hospital. Another option was to buy a CARE package specially designed for infants, one with baby food.

Well, today that CARE package for infants would come in the form of plumpy’nut, the miracle food recently profiled on the NBC Nightly News. This is a life-saving food for small children.

Plumpy’nut is peanut paste that comes wrapped in a small package, like many foods you find in grocery stores; except plumpy’nut is food specially designed to provide quick nutrients to severely malnourished children. It is widely used in areas struck by conflict, natural disasters, or extreme poverty. Plumpy’nut is easy to distribute because it does not require special preparation and storage.

In East Africa, where drought has caused massive food shortages, plumpy’nut is being distributed to children. It is saving their lives. Infants need proper nutrition in what is called the critical first 1,000 days. Without the nutrients, they will suffer lasting physical or mental damage.

Thousands of children have already starved to death in East Africa because of the food shortages, but those that get plumpy’nut can be saved.

Mindy Mizell of World Vision says, “One mom told me how she arrived in Puntland, Somalia with a severely malnourished toddler who wouldn’t play, stand, or smile…he took the plumpy’nut for a few weeks and was just fine! He looks great.”

A full supply of plumpy’nut is needed in East Africa to prevent more deaths.

Edesia, a Providence-based producer of plumpy’nut, has been running its factory 21 hours a day producing the life-saving food. Navyn Salem, Edesia’s director, said shipments are leaving almost every day to head to the East Africa famine zone. The plant was also fortunate to keep running through Hurricane Irene which tore through Providence and many other parts of the East Coast in August. Salem remarked, “we were very fortunate to be in a spot that was spared, phew!!”

Plumpy’nut production has to keep running at Edesia and other factories that produce the miracle food. But funding is always an issue, as aid agencies continually face this challenge. Not enough resources are committed by the international community toward fighting child hunger. The UN World Food Programme and other organizations are well short of funding to meet the demand.

Plumpy’nut is needed in many more areas of the globe: Afghanistan, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, and Haiti, just to name a few. All of these countries have high rates of child malnutrition, and plumpy’nut and its variations are desperately needed.

After World War II, stores like the H. & S. Pogue Company of Cincinnati even had displays of CARE packages. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that upon Pogue’s grand opening of their display in 1947, Captain Victor Heintz made the first purchase. Heintz was a World War I veteran who served on the front lines in France. Years later, he was again coming to the aid of France in the form of a CARE package.

Another Cincinnati resident, Siegfried Deutsch, got started well before Pogue’s CARE outlet opened. Deutsch bought at least 35 CARE packages. The Enquirer said number 35 went to a poverty-stricken mother and her young daughter in Vienna, Austria, Deutsch’s homeland.

Retail stores today could offer an outlet for people to buy CARE plumpy packages for starving infants overseas. As the CARE package made such a difference saving lives, winning the peace, and rebuilding Europe after World War II, plumpy packages can do the same today.

Article first published as Plumpy’nut: A Modern-Day CARE Package on Blogcritics Magazine.

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Halloween 2011: Add Plumpy’nut Treat for Starving Children Overseas

Add plumpy'nut for starving children overseas to this year's Halloween celebration (photo courtesy usa.gov)

There is something special that could be added to this year’s Halloween festivities. In addition to treats, why not have plumpy’nut added to each bag of candy?

What is plumpy’nut? Essentially it is a precious treat for children in developing countries because it can save their lives. The plumpy’nut family of ready-to-eat foods is a peanut paste used to treat dangerous levels of malnutrition in children ages 0-5.

Without proper nutrients in these early years, severe physical and mental damage can take hold.  Plumpy’nut can nourish these small children and change their lives forever.  Right now small infant children in Somalia, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Afghanistan and other countries are in desperate need of this food. There is extremely low funding for child feeding programs globally.

This is where Halloween comes in. If trick or treaters across America asked for some plumpy’nut with every doorbell ring, this food could be donated and save millions of lives around the world.

Since plumpy’nut is not something sold in stores, this particular treat would have to be in the form of a dollar. If you donated that dollar to the non-profit organization Edesia, which produces the life-saving food, it could then be channeled right into the production of plumpy’nut for starving children. Or you could contact the World Food Programme, Save the Children, Action Against Hunger or UNICEF who place the plumpy’nut orders with Edesia and other producers.

This plumpy’nut aspect of Halloween is something parents could set up in their neighborhoods. UNICEF has been running trick or treat campaigns since after World War II. You could also set up a plumpy’nut Halloween as part of their program.

So let this year’s Halloween have the classic themes of candy, full moon, Dracula, the Wolfman and others…but let’s welcome a new addition…..plumpy’nut. Treats for all. A Halloween for the ages.

Learn more about plumpy’nut from Rhode Island based Edesia.

Article first published as Halloween: Trick or Treat or Plumpy’nut on Blogcritics.

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Honoring Irish History by Helping Famine Victims in Somalia Today

Last month I published an interview with Kate O’Malley of Irish Americans Support Somalia. The group is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to help save lives in East Africa. Here are some updates as posted on their facebook page. The video below highlights a donation made by several organizations to Edesia, which is producing plumpy’nut for aid agencies to distribute in East Africa.

Here is the update from Irish Americans Support Somalia:

“In memory of Ray McKenna, and in the spirit of “Honoring our History by Helping Famine Victims Today”, Edesia received a total of $1250.00 in donations on October 9, 2011 from the following organizations: Rhode Island Police Officers Emerald Society, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Pawtucket, Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Ancient Order of Hibernians – State Board and Newport Chapter, and the RI Irish Famine Memorial Committee. Thank you!

Did you know that our online reach now extends to supporters from 7 countries and 9 U.S. states?  And that’s just who we know about!  With your help we can build this movement which so far includes people in Australia, Japan, Haiti, Ireland, South Africa, British Columbia, and OH, NC, VA, CO, CA, FL, RI, CT, and MA in the USA.  Irish or not, we are concerned parents, newspaper editors, committed high school and college students, nationally renowned authors, university professors, business owners, musicians, community activists, historians, and most importantly we are global citizens who can make a difference.

Why now?  Why us?  Unicef reports that a child is dying every 6 minutes in Somalia and that 750,000 people are presently at risk.  We all have something to contribute. Please offer your ideas, your talents, your time, your resources, your influence, your word of mouth, your compassion. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Visit Irish Americans Support of Somalia at Facebook and WordPress.

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