Table For Two’s balancing of nutrition – Combating obesity and hunger simultaneously.
Many organizations have tackled the hunger issue as it is a very visceral one. Each and every one of us understands the feeling to be hungry. Maybe it was just once during a soccer game when your Mom forgot the Lunchables, but we’ve all experienced those pangs of hunger.
Table For Two (“TFT”) looks at the world nutrition issue and realizes that there are two sides to the coin – malnutrition on the one hand and “overnutrition” on the other. Founded in Japan in 2007, TFT partners with restaurants, corporate cafeterias and other food establishments to serve healthy TFT-branded meals. They add a 25 cent charge to the price of those meals which is used to provide school lunches in countries including Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia.
They partner with organizations on the ground which are transparent and offer impact reporting of the school meal programs.
Here’s a quirky (but somewhat creepy) video demonstrating the TFT concept:
If you watch it more than once, it eventually becomes endearing.
The World Health Organization estimates that globally, 1.5 billion adults were overweight in 2008 and 43 million children were overweight in 2010. It gets worse in the United States as two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are overweight.1
As for malnutrition, 925 million people in 2010 did not have enough to eat.2
TFT’s genius it that they are able to take a tangible issue such as world hunger, one which everyone sighs and shakes their head at, and use it to cast a spotlight on the less obvious, but equally important issue of obesity and its affect on one’s health. The stark contrast between someone with bad eating habits and someone who wish they had a sustainable habit of eating is usually enough to make the former think about nutrition.
TFT’s approach towards the hunger problem is also effective:
- It’s easy to do your part and it’s self-beneficial. Just stuff your face, but with healthy food.
- It’s cheap. A quarter per meal. Equal to about 5 minutes of parking in San Francisco or two gulps of soda.
- It’s meaningful. You help a child in need partake in the very gastronomical enjoyment that you currently are enjoying. They really are an aptly named organization.
Meanwhile, TFT has sold 10.6 million meals globally and helped feed thousands of kids in sub-Saharan Africa. They keep track too. Here’s a snippet from a TFT blog post after a check-in with a Tanzanian school they support:
- Enrollment from grades 1-7: 245 versus 532 for the average MVP school.
- Attendance: 75% versus over 95% for MVP schools.
- Dropouts: over 60% of children in the “comparison school” dropped out before reaching grade 7. We don’t have the exact figure for MVP schools as the moment but it is significantly less.
(“MVP” here refers to the Millennium Villages Project)
Doesn’t that ugali look good? Well, it’s nutritious at the minimum. I’m sure that by helping feed a hungry kid, your own meal will taste just that much better too.
If you don’t live near a restaurant, corporation or school participating in TFT’s program, it may be seem difficult to join in.
However, TFT is launching a “100 Campuses In 100 Days” campaign where they are attempting to launch TFT on 100 campuses by April 26, 2012. If you’re a student leader (or wish to become one), here’s your chance!
What if your beer pong and textbook days are over? No problem:
- Start a Table For Two Program at your company or restaurant
- Get your volunteer on with Table For Two
And of course there’s always the donation (it still has its place!):