Sardines play big part in nutrition program

Mega Sardines are a breakfast staple.
Mega Sardines are a breakfast staple.

Filipino brand Mega Sardines led the celebration of National Sardines Day with the theme, "FieSSSta — Sarap, Sustansya, at Saya," last 24 November.

Marvin Tiu Lim, MPFI chief growth and development officer, underscored the importance of sardines in the lives of Filipinos. "We rely on sardines not only to satisfy our hunger, but to give us the nutrition we need. It is affordable, nutritious, and delicious. That's why we, at Mega Sardines, have a delicious, nutritious, and fun message for you all," he said.

Lim also announced the nationwide expansion efforts of the Mega Bigay Sustansiya, a program started in 2019 to address malnutrition in the country. In partnership with Reach Out Feed Philippines, Mega Global has consistently supplied healthy meals made with Mega Sardines to underprivileged communities in the country.

Photographs courtesy of Mega Sardines<br />Judy Ann Santos is Mega Sardines' ambassador.
Photographs courtesy of Mega Sardines
Judy Ann Santos is Mega Sardines' ambassador.

"We are happy to share the MSB was substantially expanded this year. Increased number of feeding days and widened geographic coverage enabled the Mega Tiu Lim Foundation to help nourish thousands of less fortunate children, improving their health with well-balanced meals, and giving better knowledge of basic nutrition despite the pandemic," he added.

On its fourth year, in a span of 120 days, Mega Bigay Sustansya provided a total of 160,800 meals for lunch and snacks for 670 beneficiaries in seven regions. Children ages four to 12 from NCR; Palayan City, Nueva Ecija; Infanta, Quezon; Leyte; Culion, Palawan; Sapian, Capiz; and Zamboanga were covered by the program, reported by ROFP founder Dawn Marie Cabigon.

From July to October, the percentage of children who have normal nutritional status increased from 58.95 percent to 78.29 percent. Following the theme, ROFP bares the program's cycle menu with delicious and Food and Nutrition Research Institute-, sardines-based meals. Children were served diverse meals such as Sardines Kalabasa Patties, Ginataang Munggo, and Kalabasa with Sardines, Sinabawang Upo with Miswa, and many more.

Pasta dish made with Mega Sardines.
Pasta dish made with Mega Sardines.

Another speaker, Sevrens Rutaquio, project development officer II of the Department of Social Welfare Development Region 4-A, gave feedback from the parents of beneficiaries in Infanta, Quezon crediting the program for the stark improvement in their children's health and eating habits. The supplementary feedings were conducted in Barangay Libjo, Binulasan and Dinahican on 4 July.

On 28 January, Mega Sardines, DSWD, Reach Out Feed Philippines and DOST FRNI signed a ceremonial memorandum of agreement on nutrition education.

In line with this, Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdepa with DoST-FRNI hosted training activities both face-to-face sessions and recorded nutritional education videos on basic nutrition, meal planning, food prep, food buying, food storage, and food safety. Dedicated to parents and guardians of the beneficiaries of the program, these activities ran from 23 July to 17 September.

Tiu Lim also praised the volunteerism of the MEGA employees, as some contributed through the Employee Volunteer Program. During Saturdays or certain weekdays, employees visited MSB locations and helped facilitate the feeding and provided entertainment.

"That's why we, through the Tiu Lim Foundation, continue to work together to help more people throughout the country. Rest assured that we will be relentless in our efforts to alleviate malnutrition in our nation so that we can help pave the way to a healthier, happier, more productive Filipino way of living," he concluded.

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