News Release

Pioneer Missionary in PH Builds Nutrition Program with Public Schools

Maligaya, which means ‘happy’ in English, was the best word to describe the dispositions of students and teachers of the Maligaya Elementary School in Tarlac City when asked about their new nutrition center.


Since its completion, the one-story brick structure has helped improve the way the school prepared food for children under their nutrition program. It also placed them in a better position to teach sanitation and proper food preparation to the students and parents.

According to Alona A. Mallari, School Principal, they felt confident that the food they prepared for the 64 students under their feeding program was clean and free from any food contaminants found commonly in open kitchens, especially those exposed to dust.

Because the nutrition center can seat 30-50 students at any given time, Mallari explained that they can feed more children simultaneously and still have room for volunteers to help serve food.

Mallari also explained that they’re looking forward to an increase in their enrollment in the next school year as parents expressed the desire to enroll their children at the Maligaya Elementary School. They felt that their children will be better taken care of because of the nutrition center.

Rise and Rebuild Nutrition Centers

The building of nutrition centers is one of the core projects of Rise and Rebuild Foundation, an organization that Ray Goodson, one of the first missionaries who served in the Philippines in the 1960s, has established together with his wife, Debra.

What started as a desire to help survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte and Cebu in 2013, sprouted into a solid foundation that helps provide schools and communities, especially in rural areas, with comfort rooms, nutrition centers, communal bathrooms, and access to potable water.

“It became apparent to us that the problems have not gone away,” explained Ray Goodson when asked how their foundation started. “They have been pushed aside and not been dealt with.”

Goodson narrated that after they concluded their Typhoon Yolanda Emergency Response project, they meet with government officials and Latter-day Saint leaders and asked what more they needed.

The common response was communal bathrooms. In that same year, they built 17 communal bathrooms, 60 more in the year after, which led them to establish what is now the Rise and Rebuild Foundation. To this day, they continue to build communal bathrooms using their own bricks.

Part of the foundation’s mission is to help lift poor families by providing employment opportunities with equal pay for men and women through their brick factories and vegetable gardens.

Like most foundations, Rise and Rebuild aims to be self-sustaining and cost-efficient by manufacturing bricks and putting put vegetable gardens.

In a visit to one of their gardens in Tarlac City, hectares of land are cultivated to grow organic produce such as eggplants, bottle gourds, lettuces, radishes, Chinese cabbages, and many others.

Portions of their harvest are donated to schools that have nutrition centers, such as the Maligaya Elementary School. The rest of the produce is sold in markets to generate funds to add to the funds they receive from donors.

R&R Nutrition Centers

According to Ray, the foundation is currently helping feed 20,000 children all over the Philippines.

With the addition of two new nutrition centers turned over just recently to San Sebastian Elementary School and Cutcut II Elementary School, which had 149 and 69 undernourished pupils under the feeding program respectively, the number of children under the program will increase. As they plan to build 30 more nutrition centers this year, R&R is projecting to feed 50,000 children by the end of 2020.

Moreover, to help curb malnutrition at the earliest stage of child development, Rise and Rebuild has expanded their feeding program to the barangays to aid preschoolers.

“The first five years are the critical years for their development, their brains, and their bodies,” explained Debra Goodson as to why they’re including the barangays. Ray also added that mothers receive meals every time they bring their children for feeding time. “If the child is malnourished, so is the mother,” he said.

Additionally, R&R provides nutrition training to parents as well as help them grow a garden in their own homes to be sustainable. The Goodson couple explained that when the school year ends most of the children that they fed fall back to poor nutrition levels. Growing vegetable gardens and teaching mothers are two solutions that they believe can speed up the process of helping children improve their nutrition.

Feed the Soul

One of the core missions of the Church is to help “care for the poor and the needy” as taught by Jesus Christ. While The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through its humanitarian arm, Latter-day Saints Charities, provide large-scale humanitarian aid, Latter-day Saints help in their own way.

The Goodson couple is one of the many thousands of Latter-day Saints who exhibits Jesus Christ’s example of service. The seed of compassion to help typhoon survivors sprouted into a wellspring of hope for undernourished, underprivileged families to become healthy, self-reliant and happy.

“It brings tears to my eyes to realize how many children [we can help]. That we can change their lives. It changes their IQ. It changes how well they can study at school,” Ray Goodson said. “It changes so many things, and it takes so little to do it.”

“We love these children. We don’t know these children, [but] we love them. We know the effect that malnutrition has on the student. And eventually, it shows up in the national IQ, which according to some in the Philippines, has gone down recently. That’s what we worry,” said Debra.

“We love your country, and we really would like to, in some way, help little by little, drop by the drop.”

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