JGF’s BLT Kitchen for DepEd’s School-Based Feeding Program Launched in Tarlac
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!