ST. LOUIS – Meds & Food for Kids – an organization dedicated to ending malnutrition and igniting economic development in Haiti – has reached a major milestone. Over the past ten years, Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) has treated and saved the lives of more than 100,000 Haitian children.
In 2010, a massive earthquake devastated Haiti. With the passing of the fourth anniversary on January 12th, Meds & Food for Kids is reflecting on the earthquake and their work in Haiti, as well as the lives the organization has impacted. According to Dr. Patricia Wolff, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Washington University’s School of Medicine and MFK’s founder. “Reaching this milestone in January is particularly significant. As we mark the fourth anniversary of the earthquake’s devastation, MFK continues to strengthen our resolve to fight malnutrition and ignite economic development in this region.”
Founded in 2003 by Dr. Wolff, Meds & Food for Kids has accomplished this significant achievement by helping to develop and distribute highly nutritious foods, including the gold-standard Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). RUTF – also known as “Medika Mamba” – is produced in MFK’s recently constructed 18,000 square foot factory in Haiti, which utilizes local Haitians as employees and as many Haitian raw materials as possible.
Dr. Wolff made her first trip to Haiti in 1988 as a medical volunteer. Numerous mission trips followed, and Pat grew increasingly frustrated watching malnourished Haitian children die needlessly. She was inspired to transfer the best-practice therapy of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods to Haiti, after a 2001 visit to Washington University colleague Dr. Mark Manary’s projects – one of the U.S. pioneers in RUTF treatment.
Meds & Foods for Kids had humble beginnings – Dr. Wolff was hand-grinding Medika Mamba in a church school room; she made enough the first year to treat 10 kids each month. After years of working in a “make shift” factory set up in a converted house, capable of treating only 8,000 children per year, the not-for-profit organization launched a $3.2 million capital campaign in 2010 to build a permanent manufacturing facility. MFK’s state-of-the art factory opened in August of 2012, expanding the production of RUTF tenfold, with the increased capacity to treat 80,000 children each year.
In conjunction with Nutriset and their PlumpyField® network, MFK supplies Medika Mamba all over Haiti, and partners with over 50 clinics, hospitals, and health programs, including the World Food Programme and UNICEF. These partnerships have been critical to reaching the children that need it most. The USDA helped Meds & Foods for Kids develop and pilot a nutritious school snack, Vita Mamba, during the 2012-2013 school year. MFK also produces a treatment for moderate malnutrition called Mamba Djamn, which they are piloting as a prenatal supplement. In addition, MFK has trained over 1,000 Haitian farmers on how to grow more and better peanuts. By creating a reliable market for their crop, Meds & Food for Kids is keeping the farmers’ children out of malnutrition clinics.
Over the last ten years, Meds & Food for Kids and the nutritional products it produces and distributes have helped significantly reduce the number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Haiti. Through the generosity of donors, supporters, sponsors and foundations, MFK has expanded its efforts – treating 90,000 children since the 2010 earthquake, and reaching this milestone of 100,000 lives saved cumulatively.
There are a number of important organizations who have been instrumental in MFK reaching this milestone. According to Dr. Wolff, “Companies such as Emerson, Clayco, Burns & McDonnell, International Food Products, Patriot Machine, Novus, Chevron Phillips Chemical, Korien Tillery, and countless foundations have dedicated their resources and funding to help Meds & Food for Kids build the new factory, in order to provide Haitian children with life-saving RUTF. Without their support, MFK could have never reached this milestone.”
Commenting on this significant achievement, Dr. Wolff adds, “We’ve made some amazing strides over the past ten years. Together with our partners, donors and supporters, we look forward to continuing our life-saving work”
For more information regarding the 100,000 lives of Haitian children saved by Meds & Food for Kids, call the MFK office at (314) 420-1634 or visit the organization online at www.mfkhaiti.org.
About Meds & Food for Kids
The Mission of Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) is dedicated to saving the lives of Haiti’s malnourished children and other nutritionally vulnerable people. MFK is a registered non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation in the United States and a registered Non-Governmental Organization in Haiti.
Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) is a non-profit social benefit enterprise founded in 2003 by St. Louis pediatrician Dr. Patricia Wolff, who worked for many years in Haiti and witnessed first-hand the devastating poverty and malnutrition that Haitian children endure. MFK develops, manufactures and distributes nutritious foods – including the World Health Organization-endorsed Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food