Roswell Rotary Club

Lunches For Learning


 

Breaking The Cycle Of Poverty In Honduras

The scope of the Lunches for Learning program is to help break the cycle of poverty in rural Honduras by providing nutrition and nutritional supplements to the impoverished children in public schools and kindergartens. The primary objective of the program is to permit children, who would otherwise have to leave school to seek food, to attend school and receive a basic six-grade academic education (adequate in exponentially increasing the chances of a decent future above the poverty level for an individual in Honduras.

Roswell companies feeding Honduran school kids

by Joan Durbin

Forty-two children in a small Honduran village didn’t have to worry about a meal or water to drink while they were in school last year, thanks to the efforts of a Roswell business.

In the rural area of that Central American country, children often drop out of school to earn whatever money they can to buy food, said Theo Keyserling, managing director of Meridian Group Partners.
On learning that disturbing fact, she and her partner Marcus Yates pledged 10 percent of their company’s 2012 profits for school lunches in an elementary school outside of Nacaome, around an hour and a half from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

“We provided lunches for the entire school so the children didn’t have to choose between feeding their minds and feeding themselves,” Keyserling said.

It was a speaker at Roswell Rotary from the Honduran nonprofit Lunches for Learning that inspired Keyserling. She and Yates started their own boutique recruiting company in Roswell three years ago after leaving a large international recruiting firm whose new owners curtailed the company’s community involvement.

“I didn’t realize until then just how much service really meant to me as part of my career until it was taken away,” Keyserling said.

While Meridian has been participating in local campaigns and projects, the partners had been looking for an international project for some time when Keyserling heard about the Lunches for Learning initiative. After making the year-long commitment to fund lunches, Meridian sent some of its associates on a trip to Honduras with Rotarians who were going there to work with students at several different schools. Those associates pitched in with physical labor at the Nacaome school.

A donor had supplied the necessary equipment to build a new water system for clean drinking water at the school, Keyserling said, “but they needed boots on the ground to get it built.”

One pair of those boots belonged to Chris Archer, a Rotarian who was instrumental with the installation process of potable water systems. After seeing the impact Lunches for Learning had in the students’ lives, Archer brought his company, Talk of the Town Catering in Roswell, on board with Meridian as a lunch sponsor for the 2013 school year.

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