Today’s guest post is special for Good Friday. Today my friend Debra, cofounder of the ministry Outside The Bowl is sharing about the work that they are doing all over the world. I remember sitting in church many years ago, only shortly after we had brought our son home and hearing about this couple from SoCal. They had raised their kids and were forgoing the comfort they had earned to go feed and nourish kids that had not had such an easy path. That’s the gospel right there folks. Having just come home from our son’s homeland I was raw with understanding of how some people exist. I mean I knew there were hungry people, but coming from a middle class American family I had no idea really. Watching a quick video in church of what they were doing had both Harry and I in tears and it became our main tithe that moment and we have supported them ever since. If you are the praying kind (and even if you are not), I ask you to consider keeping this ministry in your prayers and support if you can – their mission at Outside The Bowl is simple – feed kids – body and soul. I have seen their donated headquarters work space, it is clear they put every single thing they can into their kitchens and I love their passion. With no further delay, here is Debra in her own words….
As parents, most of us would never consider sending our children to school without a lunch. Most school districts have lunches available for free or reduced prices in the event that parents cannot afford to pay full price. Unfortunately, for many parents living in impoverished nations, providing daily food for their children is an ongoing concern.
In Colonia Camino Verde, a community in Tijuana, you’ll find a small building that houses the Club de Niños & Niñas Tijuana (Boys and Girls Club). Once occupied by dangerous drug lords who used it as a hub for illegal activities, it is now a place where children of working parents can come to learn, play and grow. Outside the Bowl started daily delivery of lunch to the 60 children at Club de Niños & Niñas Tijuana in February 2013.
According to the Art Teacher, Alejandra Maldonado, the difference in the kids before and after OTB is undeniable. “Lunch time here used to be difficult,” she says. “All the kids would sit together at lunchtime, but not all the children would eat.” “We didn’t provide meals, and not all the kids could afford to bring their own lunch, or if they did eat, they’d have a single piece of fruit, like a pear.” Alejandra recalls that food created a class system of sorts and those without it were at the bottom. In addition, she states that the general disposition of the kids was less than stellar. “They were often groggy, unable to focus and simply lacking the energy or desire to participate in the activities we offer.” She smiles when she says “partnering with Outside the Bowl has changed everything.”
Now at lunchtime, all the kids sit down and eat the same delicious, healthy meal, together. “It took a few weeks for the children to get used to getting something without giving something in exchange. The kids were suspicious”. Alejandra and the staff told the kids “Don’t worry where this food came from. Just sit, thank God for this blessing and enjoy your meal.” Suspicion finally gave in to hunger and soon the kids were regularly gathering at the tables to eat, thank God and fellowship. She points out that the children were noticeably more energetic and willing to participate in activities. In fact, pre and post evaluations show an improvement in grades, attitude and even body composition. Yes, body composition. Some of the children at the Club were actually overweight or obese prior to receiving meals from OTB simply because of poor eating habits. Access to a daily, nutritious lunch resulted in most of the overweight children actually losing body fat and they now have healthy body fat percentages.
“Outside the Bowl has changed the lives of these kids,” declares Alejandra. We are so thankful for their support and partnership.”
Since 2007, Outside the Bowl has been building super kitchens capable of serving thousands of hungry kids each day. There are now 5 kitchens operating in Mexico, South Africa and Haiti and this past July, Outside the Bowl celebrated a major milestone – 10 million meals served. But through it all, their greatest concern isn’t the food being served; it’s the ministry that goes along with it, Outside the Bowl. Outside the Bowl is truly feeding the hungry…body and soul. Learn how you can invest in a super kitchen here.
You can follow Outside The Bowl on Facebook
Thank you to Debra for sharing about one of our favorite ministries! Thank you for the work you are doing with Outside the Bowl – we love watching what God is doing through this organization!