HopeGel® Feeds Malnourished Children in Guatemala
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2017) For malnourished children in Guatemala, hope arrives in a small, lightweight packet. In these packets, the children receive the lifesaving nutrition they need to not only survive, but thrive, thanks to HopeGel®, which is working through Food For The Poor.
The HopeGel® team in Boca Raton, Fla., has supplied more than 34,000 packets to two nutritional centers in Guatemala through the charity and plans to send packets to two more centers.
HopeGel® is a nutritional packet, fortified with vital lifesaving protein, vitamins, minerals, good fats and desperately needed calories. It can be eaten straight out of a small disposable pouch and does not need to be refrigerated, cooked or mixed with water.
The flavor, which is described as a combination of peanut butter and orange creamsicle, has been readily accepted by the children.
In August, Dr. Jeffrey Miller, a urologist at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, his wife, nurse Rachel Miller, and their daughter, Amanda, traveled with Food For The Poor to Guatemala to see how children have benefitted from the nutritional packets.
Before the children were given the HopeGel®, staff at the nutritional centers noted they were lethargic. They were so malnourished, they did not want to eat.
“After three months, there was tremendous weight gain and an increase in mental sharpness. Their appetite returned,” Jeffrey Miller said. “You could see the overall happiness of the children.”
Guatemala suffers from one of the worst rates of chronic malnutrition in the world. At a young age, it can lead to stunting, a condition that affects both physical growth and brain development, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. The most vulnerable are the Mayan communities who live in the highlands, where stunting affects almost 70 percent of children younger than 5.
“It is heartbreaking to watch a mother who knows her children are suffering from malnutrition and has nothing to offer them,” said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. “Mothers will be happy to see their children get to a normal size and weight for their age. HopeGel® is truly providing these mothers and their children with hope.”
At Sister Edna’s Nutritional Center, HopeGel® has been given to children as well as distributed around the village to breastfeeding and expectant mothers and even malnourished adults.
Sister Edna Morales has been pivotal in running the center, taking in hundreds of emaciated and starving children to nurse them back to health. “It’s been very nutritious for the children at the center,” Sister Edna said. “Thank you, HopeGel®.”
At Sor Lucia Roge Nutritional Center in Guatemala City, children spread the HopeGel® like peanut butter on bread twice a day.
On average, 40 children every month are receiving the lifesaving nourishment at both nutritional centers and in the surrounding communities. Young patients must eat one to two packets a day until they return to a normal weight, which typically occurs between three and six months.
“It was very humbling walking through the little towns,” Miller said. “People would walk up to us, hug us and thank us. It’s very, very rewarding knowing that HopeGel® is having such a positive impact.”
To view a video of Miller’s visit to Sister Edna’s Nutritional Center, please go to www.FoodForThePoor.org/hopegel.
HopeGel® was started in 2012 by Dr. Nathan Feldman and Daniel Schapiro, founders of EB Performance, a South Florida-based functional beverage company, in partnership with Miller and the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation to address the global issue of severe acute malnutrition in children. HopeGel® is a “ready-to-use therapeutic food” that meets standards for supplements designed for specific, usually nutritional, therapeutic purposes.
The HopeGel® team and Food For The Poor previously have teamed up to distribute more than 33,000 nutritional packets to malnourished children in Haiti.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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