FEEDING SUSTAINS LIFE
Orphan and Elderly
In 2009, the Rev. Willard Kamandani (former priest-in-charge), along with members of the church began work to develop a Community Feeding Centre addressing the needs of malnourished children/orphans, elderly people and those living with HIV/AIDS, who came to the church begging for assistance. This idea became a reality in 2011 when the All Saints Feeding Centre was established in Thyolo region of Southern Malawi.
There are three groups supported by the feeding program: the elderly and infirm, those living with HIV/AIDS, and The Nursery School. Those that are able, help prepare, serve, and clean up. The meal consists of a (fortified enriched soya flour made into porridge with milk and sugar and a mug of tea. For many that come to the program, this “breakfast” may be their only meal of the day. The children attend the onsite nursery school and the “gogos” (elderly) sit in a covered area while the meal is being prepared.
To help make the program self-sustainable a chicken coop was added. Each 6-10 weeks new chicks are raised to then be sold. The profits from selling the chickens is used to help fund the feeding program. Due to the success of the chicken coop, some of the nearby tea plantations have also started selling chickens, adding competition for the chickens.
The chicken coop has since been converted to a piggery. Due to the weather in Thyolo, it is more conducive to raise pigs year round.
Fr. David was able to take learnings from a Diocesan fundraising training session and make a successful request for funds to make the conversion and start raising pigs. In April 2023, two board members from Warm Heart were able to visit the piggery.
The parish also offers basic medical support. Each week a nurse, or trained medical professional is available to check blood pressure, monitor diabetes and other basic healthcare needs. They will also go out into the nearby villages to check up on those that are unable to come to the feeding program.
As of January 2017, the costs of running the program was about 500,000 Malawian Kwacha a month.
When the 2019 pilgrims visited, the breakfast had already been served. Those that are on the antiretroviral medications needed their normal mealtime to take their medications. This provided an opportunity for the pilgrims and those supporting or participating in the feeding program to come together and prepare a rare second meal for those in the feeding program. Shortly after arriving onsite and after a quick tour, the pilgrims were put to work. Working together a chicken stew, cabbage and fresh vegetables, and nsima were prepared. The locals had a great time laughing at and teaching the mzungus how to properly cook in the outdoor kitchen.
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