“Wow! Yay! Is that fresh milk mama?”
This is the enthusiastic greeting of Baby Tamarah to her Mama Lutche Balmocena every time the latter gets home from a weekly milk distribution.
As part of the government’s thrusts in strengthening and maximizing the Public-Private Partnerships along with the implementation of various programs and projects, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) implemented the Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) in partnership with Local Government Units and non-government organizations to improve the nutritional status of the targeted undernourished individuals.
Despite the blended learning approaches in schools amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the feeding program continues. Gloria Jalandoni Rulona, a Child Development Worker from Barangay Dagohoy, Butuan City, gladly shared her observation of her pupils as they received their share of fresh milk. “The kids are always excited! They even want to get their share in advance or take more than one serving in a day. They are smarter and quicker to answer,” she said.
The fresh milk distributed contains vitamins and minerals that could contribute to the growth and development of the child. Mother Lutche Balmocena is swift to notice the improvements in her daughter Tamarah since the child began drinking the milk. “Niwang man akong anak. Sa pila ka semana, nabantayan nako nga nibug-at siya sukad nga gainom siya anang fresh milk. Makaingon ko nga kining fresh milk ang hinungdan tungod kay wala man ni siya nag-vitamins gud (My daughter is quite skinny. But in just a few weeks, I noticed that she gained weight since she began drinking the said milk. I can say it’s because of the fresh milk because she doesn’t take any vitamins),” Lutche said.
DSWD-SFP's 10th cycle implementation is considered to be successful. One of the factors that strongly contributed to the success of the implementation is how it has impacted its children-beneficiaries. Parents of these children couldn't help but express their gratefulness to the government’s program for undernourished children.
“Okay gyud kaayo ni nga programa. Salamat sa DSWD sa pagpangga sa mga kabataan labina sa akong anak kay ni-improve siya ug mas ni-active siya kumpara sauna (This is a great program. Thank you DSWD for showing care to the children, especially my child. Compared to before, she has improved and became more active),” Annaliza Salvador, a parent, shared.
“Salamat! Ilabina run nga panahon imbes nga amo pang paliton amo na lang i-save ang kwarta kay naa may libre nga hatag sa DSWD. Maexcite gyud permi akong anak gusto dayon niyang ablihan ang gatas pag-abot sa balay. Salamat DSWD sa inyong pagmahal sa mga bata (Thank you! Instead of buying, we'd rather save the money and avail of the free provision of DSWD, especially during these trying times. Every time we get home, my child would get excited as soon as we open the milk. Thank you, DSWD, for the love you give to the children),” Reynaldo Ernest P. Malaluan, father of one of the beneficiaries, said.
The Supplementary Feeding Program is a program that initiates the addition of nutritious food to the regular meals of children currently enrolled in child development centers. Children are given food supplementation in the form of fresh milk during snacks or meals five days a week for 120 days. As of February 2021, SFP Caraga has already served 72, 332 children. (DSWD-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)