WATCH (above): A few years ago a Langley woman decided to do something about the malnutrition that affects 20 million children worldwide. Inspired by a news report of a new kind of therapeutic food, she’s found a way to distribute enough of it to save thousands of children. Jas Johal reports.
It looks like an ordinary paste. It tastes like a sweeter peanut butter. It’s helped save countless malnourished children across the world.
And a Langley woman has sent nearly two million packets of it to needy children.
“It really is a miracle product,” says Maria Martini, the founder of Langley-based Food for Famine Society.
“To think that a little bit of peanut butter in a package can save the life of a child is truly remarkable.”
Working with World Vision Canada and their Management of Acute Malnutrition programs, the Food for Famine Society has sent 14 container loads of the product to Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Malawi, Congo, Chad, and Mali. It’s estimated the paste they’ve shipped has saved over 10,000 lives.
The peanut paste is known as a Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a high-energy, nutrient-rich foods use to help children suffering from famine. Peanut paste includes skimmed milk powder, vegetable fat, and vitamins and minerals. It can last for up to two years after being opened, and requires no water to eat.
Martini’s role is to find donors in British Columbia and raise awareness through educational programs. They’ve raised over $700,000, but she hopes that one day they could sent a container each month.
“Pretty much the only way we ask for support is inviting businesses to attend our breakfast, and then they feel compelled and happy to help,” she said.
Martini became inspired to help the cause after watching a TV special in 2008. She visited Africa last year for the first time, and said it was an immensely powerful experience.
“We saw the work we were doing was worthwhile. For that I was so grateful.”
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