In a bid to help children stay in school so they can reach their full potential, Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) built its biggest Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) School Feeding Kitchen to date in Juan Sumulong Elementary School (JSES) in Antipolo City. The first BLT Kitchen in the CALABARZON region, this facility is designed to feed 1,800 students daily – the highest number of pupils served in any of the 22 BLT kitchens nationwide. This BLT Kitchen is also the first to have two floors, with the kitchen at the ground floor and the feeding area above it.
“According to the United Nations World Food Programme, hunger is a key hindrance to learning especially among children. CALABARZON has the highest number of undernourished learners in the country. That is why at DepEd CALABARZON, one of our main goals is to ensure proper and optimum nutrition among all learners,” said Neil Evangelista, DepEd Region IV-A SBFP Coordinator.
BLT Kitchens across the country support DepEd’s School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP), which provides undernourished pupils with lunch for 120 days to help prevent drop outs due to hunger and improve their school performance. The BLT Kitchens centralize the preparation of meals that are distributed to elementary pupils in the same or surrounding schools. This enables feeding of hundreds of pupils per kitchen with less time and effort.
While DepEd takes charge of school selection and covers the cost of meals, JGF builds the commissary-type kitchen, provide equipment, and facilitate trainings on food preparation, distribution and management for the parent volunteers who operate the kitchen everyday. For the BLT Kitchen at JSES, the city government shouldered the medical screening and allowance of volunteers while the Zonta Club of Greater Rizal II provided additional funds to build the kitchen.
“Each of us can contribute to nation-building in meaningful ways, big or small. We pledge our continued commitment, passion and support to address hunger and malnutrition among public school pupils. We believe this is an important first step to help create a brighter future for our children and in so doing, a brighter future for our nation,” said Grace Tan Caktiong, President of Jollibee Group Foundation. JGF is the social responsibility arm of Jollibee Foods Corporation, which is composed of Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, and Burger King Philippines.
Currently, the 22 BLT Kitchens across the country serve over 16,000 pupils from 144 schools daily. An additional 11 kitchens are currently being constructed and will be operational by December 2018, bringing the total number to 33.
JGF President Grace Tan Caktiong and Zonta Club of Greater Rizal II Treasurer Alice Yap engage with third grade pupils at the feeding area of the BLT School Feeding Kitchen.
Parent volunteers prepare meals for 1,800 undernourished students at the BLT School Feeding Kitchen in Juan Sumulong Elementary School, Antipolo City
The BLT School Feeding Kitchen in Juan Sumulong Elementary School, Antipolo City, is the first in the country with two floors.
With the theme “Build, Lead, Transform,” Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) gathered over 120 attendees from the Department of Education, local government units, non-governmental organizations, corporate foundations and the academe to gain new insights on how BLT Kitchens can be maximized to benefit more school children and the larger community. In support of DepEd’s School-Based Feeding Program, JGF started to build BLT School Feeding Kitchens in 2016, which centralize the preparation of meals and are able to feed hundreds of pupils more efficiently. To date, over 16,300 pupils from 156 schools are being served by 22 BLT kitchens nationwide. Eleven more kitchens are set to be built this year.
Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF), in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Capas, Tarlac launched the Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) Kitchen for School Feeding, a pilot initiative that supports the implementation of DepEd’s School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP).
JGF established the BLT Kitchen in Capas Gabaldon Elementary School and provided standards on food production, safety and cleanliness. The model aims to ensure the preparation of safe and quality food with less time and effort. Through the BLT Kitchen, the school, together with parent volunteers, prepare meals and allocate portions for distribution to four other schools in Capas enabling them to serve more than 600 pupils in four (4) hours.
Speaking at the BLT Kitchen Launch and Commitment Signing on October 23, 2015, DepEd Undersecretary Mario Deriquito said that their agency is currently assessing different implementation models for the nationwide coverage of its SBFP.
“From 2013 to 2015, SBFP has grown about 30 times. Next year, we are expecting the program to increase further to about 60% so that the program will cover all severely wasted and wasted pupils in all public elementary schools nationwide,” said Deriquito. “The BLT Kitchen located in one school that will serve the needs of four other schools is a good model that will help the Department of Education make the feeding program more effective,” he added.
Ensuring safe and quality food
Food safety and cleanliness has been a major component of the BLT Program since it started in 2007. According to the school principal, Mrs. Nimfa de Guzman, all parent volunteers underwent food safety seminars and medical exams before the start of the program. “Dapat naka complete uniform sila. Meron silang hairnet, apron, gloves, at saka tamang footwear. Meron din mga quality standards na naka-post na dapat sinusunod.”
“Naglilinis kami bago magsimula magluto” said Alma Yuson, one of the 11 parent volunteers. “Hinuhugasan namin lahat ng mga sangkap bago magluto.”
“Para sa akin, mas madali ito kaysa sa iba’t-ibang eskwelahan nanggagaling yung pagkain para isahan na lang ang pagluto,” said head cook Elma Capil. “May supplier na nagdadala ng mga kailangan lutuin dito kaya hindi na kami namamalengke.”
A Public-Private Partnership Model
DepEd Schools Division Superintendent of Tarlac, Dr. May Batenga Eclar noted that the approach demonstrates effective inter-agency collaboration in the most cost efficient manner. While JGF’s support is the establishment of the kitchen facility and putting the kitchen system in place, the schools are responsible for overseeing daily feeding operations. Meanwhile, funds for feeding come from the DepEd SBFP budget. The LGU of Capas provides the medical exam for parents and the transportation requirements for the delivery of cooked food to four recipient schools.
“The pooling of talents, expertise, and resources from each member of the community will ensure that the objective of SBFP, that is to improve the health condition of our identified school children, is achieved,” said Eclar.
Feeding the future
Hon. Victor A. Yap, Governor of the Province of Tarlac, committed to allocate funds for the replication of this approach to school feeding.
“Before our term ends, we would like to ensure that Tarlac will be one of the first provinces where the central kitchen model is applied province-wide. We are willing to allocate Php 5 million from our funds for the development of the BLT kitchen approach in all municipalities of Tarlac,” announced Gov. Yap.
With the help of the local government, Gov. Yap also promised to incentivize home-based feeding programs to ensure that hunger is addressed at home beyond the days covered by the school feeding.
JGF President Grace Tan Caktiong expressed her gratitude to DepEd for undertaking a massive school feeding program that will address hunger and malnutrition among public school pupils across the country.
“From JGF’s years of supporting more than 1,500 schools nationwide through BLT, we are deeply pleased to witness the nationwide government support for school feeding.” said M’ Grace.
On behalf of JGF and Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC), M’ Grace pledged continued support for the public-private partnership with DepEd.
“When we proposed the BLT Kitchen model, our objective was to put in place the structures and systems we have learned from JFC and from BLT over the years to facilitate effective SBFP implementation. With this pilot, we hope to gather our learnings and determine the feasibility of this model in helping SBFP achieve its goals,” concluded M’ Grace.
Click here to see how the BLT Kitchen works!
For the first time in the Municipality of Geronain Tarlac, all undernourished public elementary school pupils will have added incentive to come to school every day – a hearty and nutritious lunch! This milestone is made possible through the combined efforts of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Gerona, the Department of Education (DepEd) and Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF).
According to Dr. Aileen Mangahas from the Tarlac Division of DepEd, the coordinated efforts will ensure that more pupils can stay in school and learn better.
“This school year 2015-2016, in the Municipality of Gerona, 2,019 pupils out of the 11,518 enrollees from its 44 public elementary schools, or 18% are undernourished. But because of the partnership of the LGU, DepEd, and JGF, a lunch meal everyday for each of the 2,019 pupils has been made possible,” said Mangahas.
JGF has adopted 13 schools under the Busog, Lusog, Talino School Feeding Program with counterpart funding from the LGU, while DepEd will be servicing 31 schools in the municipality through its School-Based Feeding Program. Both programs aim to improve the nutritional status of undernourished public elementary pupils through systematic and effective in-school feeding, over a 120-day feeding cycle.
Partnerships and community participation was a central theme throughout the activity.
Hon. Dennis Norman Go, Mayor of Gerona, Tarlac, encouraged all stakeholders, particularly parents, to get involved as they would serve the key to improve the children’s health situation.
JGF Executive Director Gisela Tiongson noted that the activities are part of an integrated program that the municipality is putting together to ensure that the right kind of services are given to pupils in need.
“As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. This kind of work will not be heavy if everyone in the community helps out in their own little way,” said Tiongson.
This Municipal-wide School Feeding Program was launched as part of Gerona’s Nutrition Month celebration in July at the Gerona North Central Elementary School. After the launching event, JGF and DepEd conducted an orientation for all the school principals and feeding coordinators on food safety and cleanliness, and community participation. This aims to help schools make sure that they consistently serve nutritious and safe food, and that they work with the different members of the community to implement the feeding activities.
Agboy Elementary School in Leon, Iloilo was named the Grand Winner of the 2015 Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) Excellence Awards topping entries from across the country. The school was honored for exceeding the BLT standards for food safety and quality, and its innovative approaches to working with the community to sustain the program.
Ms. Yolanda Peniero, the school Principal believes their collaboration with stakeholders was instrumental to their success. Parents, teachers, students, and the broader community were mobilized to contribute their skills and resources. They also launched the Piso Mo, Igma Ko (Your Peso, My Lunch) coin banks which were placed throughout the municipality.
For Feeding Coordinator Gemma Espana, transparency and accountability enabled them to earn the trust of their partners. “Our stakeholders – the LGU, barangay captain and barangay council, give monthly contributions. I list down whatever they give, and post it on the school board for transparency”, reported Ms. Espana.
Ms. Peniero noted the importance of the award they have received. “This award serves as our motivation in continuing the best practices that we have started. Let’s continue to serve our children and give our best in championing their health and education,” Paniero said.