Gleaners food helped missionaries feed a school of 400 Tuesday for the launch of their program. (Photo contributed)

Gleaners food helped missionaries feed a school of 400 Tuesday for the launch of their program. (Photo contributed)

Vernon missionary helps feed Guatemalan children

Seeds to Harvest brings Gleaner’s food to those in need to relief efforts.

Vernon native Leah Mary Rozycki, her husband Chris Rozycki, and their three children relocated to Guatemala in November to work as missionaries for Seeds to Harvest.

Their mission: “to bring in to Guatemala containers of donated nutritious Gleaners soup and used medical equipment from the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners.”

Rozycki said that the couple chose Seeds to Harvest because she “saw there was a need.” She explained that Gleaners donates the food to seeds to harvest ministries, and the missionaries associated with that ministry — which is currently her, her husband and her parents — then raises the funds to ship the containers of Gleaners-made food from Vernon to Guatemala.

The program was first implemented at a school in Las Cruces, Guatemala on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Related: North Okanagan Valley Gleaners thanks community for aid in Guatemala project

Related: North Okanagan Gleaners responds in Guatemala relief effort

“We heard about this needy community and that there were many malnourished children,” Rozycki said. “We arranged a trial feeding at the school to introduce the soup to see how the children responded to it, and if they liked it and wanted to, we’d continue with the feeding [program].”

So, in preparation, they soaked the soup the night before so it would be ready for the children as they arrived at school. She said they were also aided by four local Guatemalans who helped prepare and cook the soup and make rice. She said they also made ponche, a drink made with dehydrated apples, which were also supplied by Gleaners.

“The children loved the soup, the bowls were empty and some were going back for seconds to take home with them,” she said. “It’s always a great feeling when the response is so positive because these children need the nutrition so much, [and] Gleaners soup can provide that.”

This school is just one of the Guatemalan locations that Gleaners helps feed. Anyone interested in helping the cause can donate at seedstoharvest.ca. Currently, she said, the costs associated with bringing in the containers is about 1 penny per serving. This meaning that a school of 400 children, like the one she and her husband help serve, can be fed for about $4.

WATCH: Our video of some of the volunteers to aid Guatemala relief efforts last June:

Related: North Okanagan Gleaners hard at work

Related: North Okanagan Valley Gleaners sends one million meals to Guatemala

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The school is located in Las Cruces, Guatemala. (Photo contributed)

The school is located in Las Cruces, Guatemala. (Photo contributed)

This school is just one of the Guatemalan locations that Gleaners helps to feed. (Photo contributed)

This school is just one of the Guatemalan locations that Gleaners helps to feed. (Photo contributed)