The GATE program works hand in hand with the Toledo District School Feeding Program, which is part of a national effort to help undernourished primary school children do better in school by providing them with a hot lunch. Because children in the Toledo District have the highest incidence of malnutrition in Belize, the SFP is especially critical here. Each participating school has to raise funds to buy food supplies or secure food donations, supply their kitchens with needed appliances and utensils, as well as provide volunteers to cook. The success of these efforts varies with each school and the resources accessible to them. There are currently 15 active primary schools in the Toledo SFP, and more seeking to join in and set up their own school lunch programs. The GATE Program initially focused on communities where the school runs a voluntary lunch program, in order to provide fresh produce to them. The vast majority of food from the gardens at the SFP schools goes to help feed the school children. Those schools in the GATE program that are not yet in the SFP are encouraged to join, and currently use their food to supplement what is available in the student’s homes. The SFP Committee, made up of representatives of all the schools, actively assists Plenty Belize in the planning, monitoring, and implementation of the GATE Program.
Plenty Belize has been able to assist schools in the Toledo School Feeding Program because of the generosity of individual donors and grants. With funds from the British High Commission, we were able to build a 30 by 30 hurricane shelter kitchen for the school in San Felipe. With help from Marian Weber and her Flow Fund, we were able to provide refrigerator, stove, pots, freezer, microwave, plates, bowls, and utensils to the school in Midway.
Because of the designated donations of several Plenty supporters, we have been able to also provide cash donations for two schools in the School Feeding Program that needed a little extra help to feed their students a nutritious lunch. We are grateful for their support! Donations are still needed. Contact Plenty Belize for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.