News Release

Child Nutrition Program Continues to Serve the Community in Olongapo

Amidst the cries and coos, resounding laughter filled the halls as parents with their children joined the Child Nutrition Program Assessment and Screening Day, held at the Olongapo Stake (Diocese) Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on October 21, 2022. 

An opening ceremony kicked off the activity with a talk from the Counselor in the Stake Presidency, Lex Byron Magrata. He emphasized the fundamental structure and goal of healthy eating in early childhood and adolescence. "As we see and assess, monitor, and check our children's progress, it will pay off. And it starts from 0 to 5 years old," he added. 

Patricia Palabrica, Stake Nutrition Committee Chairwoman, gave a brief report on the program implementation in the stake. This assessment, the third of four series, was led by Ryan Manrique, Welfare and Self-Reliance Services (WSRS) Manager assigned to the area. The committee had previously held the same assessment at the Cabalan and Calapacuan Wards and was able to serve 19 children, adding the 29 more who came that day to a total of 48 children, ranging from newborn to 5 years old. 

After an introduction from Sister Palabrica, Ms. Ruth V. Devillena, RND, City Nutritionist, along with Ms. Jennelyn L. Borja, RN, Assistant City Nutrition Program Coordinator, presented a short lecture on Health and Nutrition. After this interactive session, they said, "May we continue in this endeavor to help the children." 

In his message, Brother Luis Manoel, Senior Manager of the Church Humanitarian Services, highlighted, "I believe that the greatest demonstration of our faith and our religion is how we treat people around us, especially the most vulnerable among us, our children." He also expressed gratitude to the mothers present during the event. "Thank you so much for your investment in your children," he remarked. 

In addition, he shared how he loved what was written on the back of the volunteers' t-shirts that say, "The healthy future of society depends on the health of today's children and their mothers." 

He stated, "What you do today is going to get to define, in great part, the health and wealth of your child." He then spoke of a watermelon seed, saying, "Isn't it amazing how Heavenly Father can turn this little watermelon seed into a beautiful, large, green, red, and delicious watermelon? This is how our children are too. They might be small today. They might be able to say just a few words. But the promise of a child, like a seed, is to become wonderful, beautiful, and a complete adult. And it is our responsibility together, not just to mothers."

After expressing his gratitude for those who came, the volunteers, and the community partners, he ended with this sweet reminder and testimony, "Know this: you are not alone. You are never alone. You have many people that care for you, care for your children. And we are here to help in any way possible. I want to testify that Jesus Christ is the world's Savior. And when we are moved upon by Him, then He has the ability to save." 

The activity was held consecutively in the different local units with a total of about 60 volunteers, consisting of Relief Society and Primary presidencies, WSR Specialists, and Bishoprics. In addition, Gerry Guerra, Regional Manager for WSRS; Anthony John Balledos, WSR Education Manager; James Ledesma, WSR Manager, also graced the affair with the participation of barangay health workers.

The program seeks to improve child nutrition by helping families access Church and community resources, to implement long-term solutions essential to early childhood development. 

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