How many children do you know who don't go to school because they have to forage for what may be their only meal of the day or week? Yet this is a reality for many children all over Honduras, one of the world's poorest nations.
Much of the population in Honduras lives below the poverty line, earning less than $1 a day. Thousands of children go hungry each day because their parents have no means to feed them. To make matters worse, many of these children must beg for food in the streets instead of attending school.
Jesus once told his disciples they would always have the poor around them. I was immediately faced with that fact when I traveled to Honduras, where I observed children wandering the streets begging for anything they could get.
In 2005, Messiah Lutheran Church, Montgomery, Ala., pledged to help break the cycle of poverty in rural Honduras by feeding schoolchildren. We began with lunches for the Andrea Gonzales Elementary School in rural El Amatillo. When we provided the first lunches, 84 children were enrolled in the school. Attendance was sporadic at best. Within a few weeks of implementing the lunch program, more than 100 kids began attending school on a regular basis. Word about Lunches for Learning continued to spread. More and more kids enrolled. A few short years later, we're now feeding lunch to more than 1,200 kids in 21 schools.
The Honduran people are so hardworking, but there are few jobs for the uneducated. This is where Lunches for Learning really makes a difference. If parents know their children will be fed a meal in school, they see to it that they attend classes. Children now have hope for breaking the cycle of poverty simply because they're able to learn basic reading, writing and math — skills that will open future doors.
To learn more about Lunches for Learning, an approved Thrivent Choice Charity, visit www.lunchesforlearning.org.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers