Dr. Andrew Simone is a direct man who gets right to the point: Close to one billion people around the world are hungry or malnourished, he says, but most Canadians don’t see it.
But he’s seen hunger, close up. And as a doctor, he’s seen its effects on health in terms of disease, blindness, stunted growth and delayed development. It’s something you don’t forget, he adds. Especially in children.
That is why Dr. Simone and his wife Joan have dedicated their lives to feeding hungry children around the world through an organization they founded called Canadian Food For Children.
Egg Farmers of Canada has been involved with the Simones right from the start. It’s a partnership that has bettered the lives of thousands, if not millions, of children over the last three decades.
The partnership is a testament to the power of the humble egg–and to the strong commitment of Egg Farmers of Canada to social responsibility by, among other things, fostering a sustainable agriculture sector and contributing to the well-being of others.
Since 1982, Egg Farmers of Canada has donated about 16 tonnes of powdered eggs–the he equivalent of 1.27 million eggs–to the program each year.
Powdered eggs are easy to ship, and easy to cook.
But more than that, they provide valuable nutrition.
“Eggs are a tremendous source of protein,” says Dr. Simone, explaining that too many children around the world lack access to meat, fish or cheese to build muscle and strength.
The fat in eggs is also tremendously important, he adds, because certain essential vitamins can’t be absorbed by the body without fat in the diet.
For example, he says, a deficiency in vitamin A is one of the most common causes of blindness in poor children around the world. Children with regular access to eggs are able to absorb vitamin A.
Dr. Simone adds that 80 % of poor people are deficient in iron and manganese–two minerals available in eggs.
“The egg is a valuable source of nutrition for undernourished people,” says Dr. Simone. “And the nice thing about the egg is that it’s tasty. I’ve seen many poor people happy to be eating eggs.”
The Simones’ dedication to their task is deep and personal.
They founded their organization after being asked personally, by Mother Teresa, to use their contacts to send food to people in Tanzania and Ethiopia. It was no use sending money, she added, because there was no food there to buy; what was needed were foods that were nutritious and easy to ship in large quantities.
Based in Mississauga, Canadian Food for Children works with partners like Egg Farmers of Canada to send life-saving food items to nearly two dozen countries the world where it is most needed. Every year, it ships the equivalent of 350 shipping containers full of dry food and essential supplies.
The group works with a network of churches and missionaries to help deliver the food to people who need it. Canadian Food for Children has no paid workers; everything is done by volunteers. The Simones themselves took a vow of poverty when they started the charity.
Dr. Simone is very grateful to the Egg Farmers of Canada, a partner from the start.
“We love the Egg Farmers,” he says. “They have always encouraged us, and they have always been kind.”
And he’s not just grateful for the food.
Eggs provide more than just nutrition, explains Dr. Simone; they also show the world’s poor that they have not been forgotten.