When Jeanne and Karen Savory learned a number of Turks and Caicos children were showing up to school hungry, the sisters set themselves an ambitious goal: Make sure no TCI child struggles in the classroom for lack of a healthy breakfast.
Four years later, their nonprofit Food for Thought program provides the most important meal of the day to roughly 10 percent of the nation’s students – including every child at TCI’s government primary schools on North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos and Salt Cay.
“It is our obligation as a community to ensure no child goes without breakfast and is able to learn and develop,” Karen Savory said. “Malnutrition has an enormous effect on physical and mental development, and the children’s ability to concentrate and learn.”
Like her sister Jeanne, Karen was raised in TCI, studied abroad, and returned home to practice law. Both understood from the beginning that when it came to feeding hungry kids spread across multiple islands, fundraising alone wouldn’t solve the project’s tricky logistics.
But with the help of generous transport providers and local volunteers, the food gets where it’s needed. “We could not do what we do without the support of our amazing team of corporate sponsors, volunteers and cheerleaders,” she said.
Food for Thought began by visiting schools to learn about specific needs. They researched what the kids enjoyed eating, but also consulted teachers, a doctor and a nutritionist. The result is a weekly menu rotation that features milk and fresh fruit daily and everything from peanut butter sandwiches to grits and eggs. And since the stigma attached to charity could prevent those most in need from accepting the meal, Food For Thought provides breakfast to all students at the schools.
“Teachers quickly reported that they saw an improvement in the students’ attention, focus and attendance,” Karen said.
The program also delivers non-perishable breakfast items for distribution at each of the ten public schools not currently receiving the daily breakfast program on Grand Turk and Providenciales. More resources are needed to expand the breakfast program to the thousands of students attending those schools.
Food education is another priority for the sisters, who are starting to help provide schools with tools assisting in teaching children about healthy eating.
Program funding comes primarily through sponsorships and fundraisers, but whether through food donations or purchases of the organization’s branded bags, philanthropy in all forms helps these sisters provide healthy breakfasts each year to hundreds of students. “We are very lucky to be part of such a caring community,” Karen said.
Want to Support the cause? Here are several ways you can help:
- Donate non-perishable breakfast food
- Buy Food For Thought merchandise
- Become a Corporate Sponsor
- Host or attend a fundraiser
- Make a one-off donation ($300 covers a single child for a year)
- Volunteer. Take the next step at foodforthoughttci.com