The Lunch Project empowers communities to change their world by supporting school lunch programs in Tanzania and inspiring service in all children.
The Lunch Project began with these three words. In 2011, law professor Rebecca Wofford was conducting research on international children's law at a public primary school in Tanzania when the headmaster revealed the school's greatest performance obstacle.
I learned that although most local children were enrolled in school, many were not regularly attending. After meeting with community leaders, parents, teachers, and administrators to discuss the barriers to success, I discovered that a fundamental need was not being met – the kids were not being fed at school! I thought about my two children at home, ages six and eight at the time, and how they would handle a seven-hour school day on an empty belly.
Before I left Tanzania, the headmaster at the school looked me in the eye and said "Can you help?" I knew I had to do something for these students in Tanzania. Lunch was a simple idea but it had the potential of making a huge impact. In May of 2011, The Lunch Project was founded with the belief that providing lunch at school was a key component to enabling the Tanzania school children to complete primary school.
The Lunch Project began testing its operating model by serving lunch one day per week at Lemanyata Primary School. Local mothers (“mamas” in Swahili) were hired to cook a culturally sensitive meal over an open fire for the school children. The supplies were purchased from the local farmers; the children gathered firewood and buckets of clean water from the local well, and brought their own bowls from home.
This model worked and we continue to use it today! In January 2014, we expanded to Engorika Primary School. We
are now serving lunch five days a week at both schools. By harnessing local resources, the local economy is fueled and the whole community is engaged in feeding the students!
We began telling children in the U.S. about The Lunch Project and the schoolchildren it serves in Tanzania. We immediately noticed that the local children were eager to connect with and help the children in Tanzania.
In March 2012, The Lunch Project began its Empathy Education Program in schools and clubs across Charlotte.
The Lunch Project’s Empathy
Education Program has grown organically as local children began raising awareness and funds for lunches. As students themselves, they understand the need for a full belly to be able to focus and learn in school.
Whether through lemonade stands, dog walking, bake sales, sports tournaments, or any one of the many fundraising ideas that kids have come up with, they know that they are make a difference in the world. And it’s not just for kids! We have many young professionals and adults actively fundraising and participating in our live and online campaigns.
Want to learn how to put the FUN in FUNdraising? Click here.