Amid the fear and destruction of the recent earthquakes, The Rainbow Network celebrated a milestone of hope by serving the 40 Millionth Meal to the people of rural Nicaragua.
Springfield, Missouri – On April 24, representatives, volunteers and employees of The Rainbow Network gathered with Nicaraguans to serve the 40 millionth meal provided in a Rainbow Network feeding center. The event occurred just days after several earthquakes rocked the region, destroying some employees’ homes and causing widespread fear and panic. Despite the turmoil, at least 800 people attended the event including Nicaraguan government officials and media from all major Nicaraguan broadcast outlets.
The Rainbow Network, a not for profit development organization based in Springfield, Missouri, has been working in rural Nicaragua for the past 19 years to help alleviate the crushing poverty so prevalent in the country. The feeding centers were originally opened when it was learned that 4 to 6 children would faint daily during school classes because of hunger. Malnutrition and starvation were a harsh reality for rural Nicaraguans in the communities served by The Rainbow Network prior to the opening of the feeding centers. It is estimated that Rainbow Network feeding centers have saved at least 1,000 lives since opening.
“This was a momentous occasion for The Rainbow Network” says Keith Jaspers, founder of The Rainbow Network. “Our mission has always been to create a sustainable, community based effort in rural Nicaragua. We once operated 220 feeding centers but have been able to reduce this number to 132 due to the success of our family garden and microloan programs that allow people to build self-reliance. Our feeding centers currently serve more than 9,000 people daily, mostly children, and we will continue to provide nutritious meals until they are no longer needed.”
The Rainbow Network is hosting a thank you luncheon on Friday, May 9th from noon to 1:30 at the Chub O’Reilly Cancer Center located at 2055 S. Fremont Avenue to celebrate the 40 Millionth Meal. Guest speakers will be Keith Jaspers and Jay Guffey, chairman of the board.