NEW YORK — Advancement for Rural Kids, or A.R.K., has turned ten.
Throughout the years, this New York-based non-profit organization has made it a priority to combat hunger and malnutrition in rural Philippines.
Its CEO and co-founder, Ayesha Vera-yu, said many kids in rural areas are forced to quit school because they are hungry.
So A.R.K. pioneered a recipe for change – ARK’s 5 cent school lunch.
“The ARK lunch is the only one in the world right now, that is self-sustaining, where parents contribute to day 1 and they’re fully paid after 3 years.
The program also decreased student dropouts, while encouraging more kids to stay and finish school.
ARK co-founder Jerry Topitzer said, it’s not a handout — it’s an investment that sustains itself after 3 years.
“Over time, the secret was, allowing them to really own it and run it themselves, that was the secret for how they were able to do so much with a small amount of money.”
Principal Marissa said, while the schools implement the program, parents have to also do their part.
“The parent-teacher associations of every grade level takes care of the garden, others volunteer in the preparation and the cooking of lunch.”
In ten years, ARK has served close to a million lunches, helped put 5,000 kids back to school, and provided scholarships to more than 200 kids to advance to high school and college.”A community that sustains itself, is a community that lives on forever – and that is what I think sets ARK apart,” said David McQueen.
This recent dinner benefit party aimed to raise more money so ARK can share their 5 cent ARK lunch solution to end hunger and malnutrition all over the Philippines.
ARK is targeting to help 45 communities in the next 3 three years — and lead them to a self-sustaining future.