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The Difference a Meal Can Make

This past February I had the opportunity to visit our partners in Meru, Kenya accompanied by Peter and Josephine Mburugu.  Due to travel restrictions during the pandemic, this was the first opportunity I had to visit the ministry since I became Outreach Minister seven years ago, and it was truly a blessed experience.  

Lisa with Florence K. Kimaita,
Headteacher at Nyweri Primary School
From the time I landed to the time I departed I was greeted with overwhelming Kenyan hospitality. I shared meals with volunteers from Hope International Ministry Trust, school administrators, and extended family members connected to Cherish. I met students and teachers and had a group of kindergarteners follow my every step as I toured their school.  But the most memorable part of my trip was the stories I heard about the transformation occurring because of a simple lunch provided to students every day while they are in school.  

Two years ago, UPPC began sending funds designated for the Watoto ministry to a primary school in Meru who had a group of volunteers willing to prepare lunch for students every day if given funding to buy food supplies. Large numbers of students in this school come from families struggling with extreme poverty who are unable to provide their kids more than one meal a day. Without a school lunch program, the school relied upon parents to take their kids home for lunch every day. However, because of family situations, parents often had no food to feed their child, leaving kids hungry, distraught, easily distracted, and unruly.  

Lunch at Nyweri Primary School
As an experiment, UPPC agreed to partner with the school and their volunteers to set up a school lunch program hoping at the very least it would provide kids with a little more nutrition throughout the day.  Around the same time, we partnered with another community group to start a lunch program in a couple of schools in Laikipia county who had many students on the brink of starvation. After running these programs for a solid 18 months, the transformation has been remarkable. Students are focused and learning, attendance is near 100%, and student test scores have skyrocketed. Further, instead of having to be home to feed their kids lunch every day, both parents are now able to work during the day increasing the financial stability and overall health within the family. It is amazing how a simple meal can transform families’ lives and a community!

After seeing these remarkable changes, UPPC has agreed to continue supporting these school lunch programs with your help.  A donation as little as $30/month to the Cherish Watoto Ministry feeds 10 students for one school year. You can give to the Cherish Watoto ministry or learn about sponsoring a student in Meru at  

Rev. Lisa Woicik
UPPC Outreach Minister