An investigation report about nutritional status of students in poverty-stricken areas in China which was published by China Development Research Foundation (CDRF) of the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council in February 2011 indicated that children in poverty-stricken area in central and western regions of China were seriously insufficient in nutrition. Relevant situation of investigated students is shown as follows.
Among the investigated students, 12% suffered from developmental retardation and 72% would felt hungry during class. The body weight of male/female boarders is about 10kg/7kg lower while the body height of them is about 11cm/9cm shorter than the national average levels of countryside students.
According to the report, the poor condition of Chinese children will lead to great loss of human capital and the consequence of inter-generation transmission of poverty in the future. The government is supposed to take nutrition intervention for children as one of the basic responsibilities and the ruling party and the country are expected to make a political commitment.
On February 26, 2011, Deng Fei attended the annual meeting of Tianya Community as the “2010 Annual Reporter of Tianya Community”. A teacher providing teaching-assistance service named Cai Jiaqin told Deng Fei: I have to take my lunch and walk fast to the dormitory every time in lunch time because it is hard for me to see the eagerness in the eyes of my students who do not have lunch. Deng Fei was greatly shocked by what he was told and decided to go to the school of Cai Jiaqin to build a canteen for those children. Half a month later, Deng Fei saw those children in a mountainous area of Guizhou Province. Those children were forced to endure the torments of hunger because they needed to go to school together and were unable to go home for lunch. Some of the children even drank cold water to allay their hunger. Deng Fei was deeply touched and felt sorry for what he saw and decided to take some actions. He tried to arouse the attention of web users to the phenomenon on Weibo and organized web users to donate money for helping children in the foresaid situation with the aim of enabling those children to have lunch and avoid hunger. His initiative was started from one school.
On April 2, the free lunch program was initiated in Shaba Primary School of Qianxi County. 169 students in Shaba Primary School became the first ones to enjoy free lunch. The two-layer lunch boxes distributed to the students were filled with rice, egg, stir fried pork with fermented vegetables, simmer-fried potato and cabbage soup.
Revolution would come following the action. Increasingly more web users participated in the program, forming a powerful current for public welfare. A single spark can start a prairie fire. The implementation of free lunch program extended to many other remote poverty-stricken areas in China.
On April 2, 2011, the Free Lunch for Children (FLFC) was formally established. Deng Fei, in collaboration with about 500 journalists, dozens of Chinese mainstream media and China Social Welfare Foundation (CSWF) launched the public placement plan for free lunch foundation to advocate the offer of free lunch to primary school students in poverty-stricken areas.
Our Mission: To create a healthy childhood free from hunger for Chinese children.
Our Vision: To make free lunch a basic welfare of Chinese children.
Our Strategies: Develop a safe and efficient Free Lunch mode that can be replicated to other areas; abide by the principle of transparency; make professional services available to the government, enterprises, public interest organizations and individual donators and constantly facilitate public policies.