Many students were confused Monday morning when they noticed the 1971 Winnebago parked in the middle of campus. Mark Moore, CEO of MANA Nutrition, explained the phenomenon in Chapel on Monday.
For the last few years, the RV, deemed the Manabago, has been traveling the states, telling people that “feeding kids is groovy.” The Manabago, with its chrome wheels and twice pipes, is a mission carrier for MANA, or Mother Administered Nutritive Aid.
Moore spoke in Chapel about his company’s product, RUTF, which stands for Ready to Use Therapeutic Food. Accompanied by the Manabago’s two roadies, Alex Cox and Mark Slagle. Moore also led a Chapel forum later that evening encouraging students to get involved. Their Chapel presentations, which included pictures and video, attested to the importance of the MANA’s mission.
“It was shocking to see the children in the Anderson Cooper video,” Caitlin Phillips, sophomore international studies major from Virginia, said. “I’ve never seen malnourished children like that.”
MANA designed RUTF, which is a simple mixture of peanut butter, fortified milk and vitamins, to treat children diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. MANA nutrition particularly targets children younger than age six. So far, the company has stations in Rwanda and Guatemala to hand out the mixture packets.
“Proper nutrition is really important for children because, like the forum said, malnutrition leads to stunted growth, lower marriage age, a less healthy community overall and unfortunately death,” Kara Stutesman, sophomore pre-med and journalism major from Missouri, said.
The mission of MANA is to treat children before they are too old. Brain growth stops at the age of six, and if young children receive poor nutrition, their brain development is permanently stunted. To combat this deficiency, RUTF provides the same nutrients as a high protein snack and a glass of milk.
“I’m glad to see that another organization is doing something about malnutrition in the world,” Phillips said. “It’s good to see that kids are getting saved.”
The Manabago will continue on its journey around the states, hoping to reach their goal of saving the lives of 10,000 children by Christmas.
For more information on the Manabago, visit http://manabago.com/, and for more information about MANA, visit http://mananutrition.org/.