Balinda John is a student in Kampala, Uganda. He loves to play soccer like other children, but there is one big difference: he suffers from chronic hunger.
Balinda is one of about 200 at-risk boys at the Don Bosco Children and Life Mission. When Stop Hunger Now volunteers package meals they often do not know where they are going or how they will be received. But Balinda wrote a letter to let his benefactors know what happens when a truck arrives at the mission with Stop Hunger Now meals.
“After my schooling in the evening I came back very tired, and reaching the gate, I saw a truck with a container. Immediately I removed my school uniform to help with loading the food,” explained Balinda. “On eating this food, most of my brothers who were weak grew strong and energetic.”
The recent Stop Hunger Now shipment included 20 pallets of rice meals packed by volunteers in California, and 50 boxes of donated sports wear, including soccer uniforms. This was the final of three shipments sent to the Salesian Mission that made up a donation that has provided more than 850,000 meals this year.
Stop Hunger Now’s partnership has enabled the Salesian Mission to expand their services for youth in need. “Access to nutritious meals allows youth to be better prepared to take part in school activities and focus on their education,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Teachers report seeing better student performance and increased enrollment as a result of the feeding program.
Students like Balinda are grateful for the food and clothing. “I have nothing to give you rather than our prayers,” he says. “I am so happy for everything that arrived in the container.”