News Release

Iloilo North Saints Host Child Nutrition Program in Partnership with DOH

More than six hundred attended, and two hundred-ten children participated during the Child Nutrition Program hosted by the Iloilo North Philippines Stake (diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, August 26, in the Lapaz meetinghouse.

Elder Steven R. Bangerter, Philippines Area President, presided over the activity. "Caring for the children is the core of all that the Savior, Jesus Christ, taught us," he emphasized in his message. "The ministry and protection of the health and well-being of our children are central and fundamental," Elder Bangerter added.

During the program, the kids were given toys, sang, danced, and played games led by the Stake Primary Presidency, while parents/guardians received free eyeglasses. The Department of Health also distributed food supplements and hygiene kits. In addition, the recipients also received free medical services like fasting blood sugar (FBS), blood pressure testing, and eye check-up.

Sister Amy Wright, 1st Counselor of the Primary General Presidency, said, "Our focus is on the rising generation, including children and youth. What a blessing it is to see how you minister to your precious children!" She also added that we could determine the virtue and character of the people by how we treat the most vulnerable members. "What manifests to us today is how you cherish the most vulnerable members, our children," she stated.

"We would like to build a partnership, and this is really a very good start," Ma. Ma. Azucena Soliguen Arroyo, RND, Nutritionists-Dietitian IV of DOH Region 6, appreciated the partnership. She mentioned there are not enough personnel to cover each barangay and that the DOH is also supporting the local government unit (LGU) with the deployment of the nutritionists in the municipalities. "But these are also not enough. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can effectively partner in reaching out to these children. And through these efforts, malnutrition can be prevented," she emphasized.

Stephanie Presno, a mother from Leganes 2nd Ward (congregation), was grateful to be part of the program. She stated that the Child Nutrition Program is a reminder of a parent's obligation to ensure that her children eat nutritious food. "If my children are healthy, they will be productive and physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and mentally fit. I know that our children will be the future leader of our church and the community, so we need to ensure that they are healthy from their childhood," she mentioned.

"We can all help another. Therefore, we should always be anxiously engaged in seeking to rescue those in need," Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, 1st Counselor to the Area Presidency, emphasized in his message.

In May 2018, the First Presidency approved a pilot to address child malnutrition among Church members in developing countries. The following year, the Welfare Self Reliance Executive Committee approved the steps to conduct screenings in the Philippines to assess needs and develop solutions. The Philippines is the first area to pilot the project. Since then, several stakes and districts have responded to this initiative and have launched their initial screening for their primary children and their mothers. 

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