Did you know that Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Inc. (PAFPI) through the program of MAC AIDS Fund (MAF) have been providing free healthy hot meals for the past seven (7) years? Dealing with HIV is already a burden financially and emotionally. And providing them with healthy lunch meals every Fridays of the month is one of the little ways to somehow ease the worries that people living and affected with HIV / AIDS (PLHIVs) have to face. But more than satisfying the palate, the center-based feeding program at PAFPI’s Bahay Kalinga Drop-in Center also serves as a venue for PLHIVs, their families, friends, visitors, volunteers, and advocates to come together as one happy family. The feeding activity is way is a way for them to share and open up to others, which helped them cope with their current situation and helping them live a normal, happy and productive life in the mainstream and supportive society.
But what benefits one gets when eating together as a family?
Opens up communication. Conversations and interactions during meal times are good opportunities for family members, friends and peers to bond, connect, and learn from each other. For those who may have a hard time opening up, sharing a good meal and shy glances and timid smile is already a good start. Improves well-being. The heartfelt conversations and hearty laughter foster warmth that brings in the feeling of security and love. In the long run, the regular interactions bring in a sense of belongingness and improve one’s well-being.
Provides nourishment. Meals prepared with utmost care are well-balanced to provide PLHIVs with the right nutrients to help them recover their health faster.
Veer away from harmful vices. Various researches show that frequent family meals lower the rates of vices. Instead of turning to vices, family members can open up and talk about their worries, solve and plan on how to resolve the things that are bothering them. Improves mood and temperament. Keeping your problems and your worries to yourself may cause anxiety, mood changes and bad temperament. But since eating meals together can help open up communication, opening up little by little and sharing your worries will help ease anxieties; thus, improving mood and temperament.
Helps save money. This could be the least benefit one would enjoy when eating meals together, but it still is a benefit. One good healthy meal may cost a person 100 pesos the least. But more than the savings, the profound benefits in the emotional and mental health of family members and those who partake in the center-based feeding program are more important.