How will your club honor World Food Day?
Rotarians get boxes of PowerFlour ready to be shipped.
Each 16 October, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations celebrates World Food Day, which marks the FAO’s founding in 1945. This year’s theme is “The Right to Food.”
Here’s just one example of how Rotarians are making sure all children have access to nourishing meals.
Rotarians enhance nutrition through PowerFlour
What do you get when you combine porridge and barley malt flour? Rotarians know the answer: a cereal that can save the lives of malnourished infants.
Since 1995, Rotarians in districts 6220 and 6270 (Michigan and Wisconsin, USA) have been raising funds to package and ship malt flour, or “PowerFlour,” to developing countries where porridge is a daily staple.
When barley malt flour is added to a heated starchy food, the starch is converted into sugar, protein is transformed into soluble protein and amino acids, and minerals are released. People who are severely malnourished are unable to produce the enzymes necessary to digest porridge and other starchy foods. Infants younger than about 2½ years of age cannot digest starchy foods at all. But when malt flour is added, they can extract more calories and nutrients from the food. The diet enhancer can be added to rice, corn, oats, wheat, yams, millet, beans, and other starches.
The PowerFlour Action Network, a Rotarian-managed nonprofit in Wisconsin, has sent the powdery food supplement to 66 countries and distributed enough to enhance more than 50 million meals, says Tom Hartzell, the network’s president and a member of the Rotary Club of Sheboygan West.
In September, the organization shipped 10,000 pounds of PowerFlour to a nongovernmental organization in Panama with help from a $12,500 Matching Grant from The Rotary Foundation. The malt flour will be used to feed 5,000 malnourished children for about six months. The grant also helped pay to publish 10,000 copies of a booklet about the use and benefits of the malt flour.
A study of 65 children under 2½ years of age in Panama showed that those who consumed oatmeal containing the malt flour put on more weight than those who ate oatmeal without the supplement. In all other respects, their diets and health status were the same. After five months, the children who ate the malt flour gained about 50 percent more weight than the children whose food did not contain it.
The PowerFlour Action Network gets the malt flour at no cost from malt producers, mainly Briess Malt & Ingredients in Chilton, Wis. A 50-pound bag, which normally costs about $13, will supplement about 24,000 one-cup servings of porridge.
Interested in replicating this project?
Find out more at www.powerflour.org or e-mail John Wiley at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free booklet and 10-ounce sample of the malt flour.
Learn more about World Food Day