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Fighting child hunger: Thrive’s five-year journey

  • Published at 12:23 am March 5th, 2018
  • Last updated at 12:42 am March 5th, 2018
Fighting child hunger: Thrive’s five-year journey
It started with a simple delivery of 250 bananas to a school in a Korail neighbourhood. Five years later, Thrive delivers more than 3,750 meals to schoolchildren in Bangladesh and the Philippines weekly, bringing smiles and hope to kids full of promise and potential but low on nutrition. To celebrate the anniversary, Thrive's founders Gina Gabel and Priscilla Heffelfinger, and Thrive board members, Sadia Moyeen, Amna Rahman, and Kanwal Bhagat will come together in Dhaka all at once for the first time to reconnect with the school children. Thrive will join Esrat Karim from the Amal Foundation and visit a Rohingya Refugee Camp in Teknaf to pack food for families fleeing Myanmar's violence. Thrive began in 2012 with three expats, namely, Gabel, Heffelfinger, and Regina Landor,  who lived in Dhaka and got to know a number of happy but hungry children. Having witnessed numerous children begging on the streets for food, the trio visited Jaago’s Banani branch in Korail and offered to bring a weekly delivery of bananas to the school children. The immediate result included high fives from the children, promises of more food, and support locally from both expats and nationals in the form of donations and time. The spirit of doing good deeds spread among friends and family, and as corporate partners signed on, the number of children Thrive was able to feed grew rapidly from 250 in 2012 to over 900 in 2016. Thrive currently provides food to children at six schools in Dhaka and two community centers in Manila. The meals cost roughly 50 cents per child, and include eggs, bananas, peanuts, seasonal fruits or vegetables, and a glass of milk. Thrive also provides lessons in hygiene to help the children stay healthy. This week Gabel, Heffelfinger, Moyeen, Rahman, and Bhagat will join with Mishal Karim of Direct Fresh, Thrive’s main food supplier and partner, to assess the logistics of food procurement and delivery to ensure continued success. Thrive's five founders look forward to celebrating five years of success and reuniting with the children and teachers at the six schools in Dhaka, distributing meals and spending time with the students, perhaps high-fiving again. During the visit, they will also meet and assess additional schools seeking Thrive resources for their students. Gabel says: “Anyone who has stepped foot on a busy street in Dhaka knows that childhood hunger here is vast. It is a reality that stares at you and begs you to do something. Thrive supporters listen to those pleas and decide to be part of the solution. With growing support from individuals and corporations, Thrive will be able to serve additional children facing immediate hunger and make a more meaningful impact on the future of this beautiful country and beyond.” Thrive Donations can be made online at thrive-global.org  , or by contacting Gina Gabel at [email protected] .
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