Yspaniola Food Program
Since Fall 2015, Yspaniola has been running a Food Program for students. We provide healthy lunch boxes to Learning Center students to support their learning and incentivize class attendance.
This was in response to a need in Batey Libertad, where many families struggle to provide their children with adequate nutrition. Students who attend the Learning Center for classes receive healthy lunch boxes such as hardboiled eggs, sandwiches, bananas and water or oatmeal before their classes.
In Batey Libertad, most parents work informal, unskilled jobs, and many families are unable to provide nutritious, healthy meals for their children every day. It is well-documented that nutritious food is vital for healthy childhood development, and nothing compares to a warm, home-cooked meal.
Some days, students arrive at our classrooms without breakfast, and unsure of when they will eat their next meal.
should be able to grow healthy and happy, and that includes fair access to nutritious food.
Yspaniola’s Food Program aims to both curb food insecurity for our preschoolers and also incentivize daily attendance at our classes. Providing a daily snack is valuable for our students and their parents alike.
Before COVID-19, Yspaniola’s Food Program provided students with a nutritious, home-made snack each day before class, and we aim to return to that in future. Although we can’t yet provide a healthy snack before class due to COVID-19, we still provide all of our Kinder students with a healthy, nutritionist-approved snack in a lunchbox that they can take home after every class.
Yspaniola wants to ensure that the youngest learners in the Batey get the best possible start to their first school year, and continue on that path in the years after. According to the World Food Program, food initiatives have been proven to improve access to education since they encourage families to keep children in school, which in turn boosts learning, specifically literacy acquisition (WFP 2020).
By providing students with a daily lunchbox, we help them to retain information and progress faster during the academic year.
During the heart of the pandemic we also provided students with a weekly bag of dry ingredients (beans, rice, canned food, milk…) for their parents to cook them at home during the week. This initiative provided a much needed financial relief to parents as the sanitary situation reinforced the country’s dire economic reality, especially in marginalized rural communities like that of Batey Libertad where work opportunities are scarce
We provide our students with nutritious food so they can grow strong and have the necesarry energy to learn daily.
We provide our students with a reusable lunch box for the year, that way we reduce waste and promote sustainable habits to community families.
Each lunchbox includes a reusable water bottle, which we fill during and after every class with safe drinking water. Being hydrated is just as important as eating daily for a healthy lifestyle.