Being a teacher is not just a profession but a vocation. What teachers like Marilou Dechosa and Benito Manguiob value more than imparting academic lessons is supporting the overall growth, development, and nutrition of their students.

Grade 6 Teacher Marilou heads the Tagbaobo Elementary School’s feeding program. With the support of her co-teachers and the parents of their students, they put up a makeshift kitchen for their regular feeding activities. However, it was a struggle to prepare food for the students due to the lack of equipment, water access, and a conducive space for dining. When they had to halt the program because of the pandemic, Marilou wanted to continue enriching the students’ nutrition. So, she and her colleagues distributed fresh milk to students in their homes. Still, she constantly worried where to store the milk as they did not have the means and the facility.

In Bandera Elementary School, Head Teacher Benito was also concerned about their school feeding program. The room where the program was conducted before was primarily used for kindergarten classes and the teachers had to wait until dismissal before they could start food preparation. As a result, many students who were waiting for long would end up missing the distribution and going home with an empty stomach. Moreover, Benito knew the feeding program needed more support from parents but without a proper facility, they found it hard to engage them in the program.

Now with a new multi-purpose center in their school, Marilou and Benito are delighted and excited to serve more students not only for their respective feeding programs but also for other functions such as conferences, special education classes, bible studies, and community-related activities. With these new facilities, it would be easier for Marilou and Benito to fulfill their calling and help their students grow and learn better.