First Class

Multiplying the loaves and fishes

/ 05:10 AM September 09, 2018

Guy Halsey, country director of Action Against Hunger

I had the privilege of hosting last Wednesday the launch of Action Against Hunger’s 2018 campaign that will help feed malnourished children in the Philippines.

Action Against Hunger is “a global humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against the causes and effects of hunger.” They are present in over 45 countries, helping millions.


The campaign, called Restaurants Against Hunger, seeks to raise funds through dishes offered by partner restaurants.

Dishes that feed more


Restaurants Against Hunger will run this year between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1. Partner restaurants will offer a dish or product, proceeds from which will go to the campaign.

The mechanics are simple: Restaurants choose a dish from their menu and for every order of this dish, a portion of the profit will go to projects of Action Against Hunger in the Philippines. These dishes will be labelled “Dishes That Feed More.”

Action Against Hunger will support the restaurants by providing all marketing materials needed for the campaign: posters, tabletops, stickers and more.

Dale Divinagracia, fundraising and resource development manager of Action Against Hunger, says restaurants or home cooks selling their products and dishes on Instagram or Facebook are also welcome to participate. All they have to do is register.

This is a shout out to restaurateurs and chefs to participate. You can become a restaurant partner by logging on to and just follow the steps in the section called Register Your Restaurant.

So far, over 118 restaurants have signed up. These include all branches of Old Spaghetti House, Cyma, Alba, Aracama, Cafe Mediterranean, Chelsea Kitchen, Corner Tree Cafe, Grilla, Museum Cafe, Saboten and Wild Ginger.

Action Against Hunger Nutrition and Emergency Response in Marawi. —Photos courtesy of Action Against Hunger

Malnutrition in PH


Listening to the statistics presented by Guy Halsey of Action Against Hunger was enlightening … and heartbreaking as well.

Halsey pointed out a third (33.4 percent) of ALL children in the Philippines today suffer not just from malnutrition but from chronic malnutrition. Among countries in the world with the highest number of stunted children (children suffering from chronic malnutrition), the Philippines ranks No. 9! That means 3.8 million Filipino children are underfed, literally stick thin and prone to diseases.

But what really caught my attention were photos that Halsey showed comparing the brains of children who eat well and children suffering from chronic malnutrition. The latter exhibited brain shrinkage that sadly is irreversible.

Thus, the first 1,000 days of a child was critical, Halsey explained. If a child does not get proper nutrition during this period, he or she would be vulnerable to long term developmental delays and increased risk of death. It means this child would literally be less equipped for success in life.

Eat for a cause

Because of statistics like this all over the world, Action Against Hunger started the Restaurants Against Hunger campaign on World Food Day in France in 1998. The Philippines is joining Bolivia, Canada, Columbia, Germany, Guatemala, India, Italy, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States in this campaign.

Chiqui Mabanta, owner of Corner Tree Cafe, who has participated in the campaign since it started two years ago, encourages other restaurateurs to participate. “This program is very easy to implement, inexpensive and unites the restaurant staff and customers for a lifesaving cause,” she says.

On our part, it’s also easy to participate because all we have to do is eat. Isn’t this the best kind of guilt-free eating?

I hope we can all help this cause and get children the proper nutrition they need!

To know more about the campaign, visit or follow these social media accounts @RestaurantsAgainstHungerPH and @ActionAgainstHungerPH on Facebook, @RestaurantsAgainstHungerPH on Instagram and #EndHungerPH on Twitter.

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TAGS: Action Against Hunger, Action Against Hunger’s 2018, malnourished children
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