SOURCE: Meds & Food for Kids

Meds & Food for Kids

January 19, 2010 14:07 ET

Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) Moves Quickly to Meet Crisis in Haiti; Races to Replace $80,000 in Lost Raw Materials

Lost Raw Materials Needed to Provide Food to Haiti's Growing Number of Malnourished Children

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwire - January 19, 2010) - Day by day, earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince grow more desperate for food -- and Meds & Food for Kids (MFK), a St. Louis-based non-profit already working in Haiti to save the lives of its 250,000 malnourished children, is on the ground responding to this humanitarian crisis. But the organization must find a way to quickly replace $80,000 of raw materials lost in the now-destroyed seaport to continue with its mission. MFK is urgently seeking donations from the public. Donations can be made through the website at

In its factory, 150 miles north of the capital, MFK produces packets of "Medika Mamba," an energy-dense peanut butter product recognized by the World Health Organization and UNICEF as the most effective treatment for malnutrition. MFK's Port-au-Prince warehouse, unscathed by the quake, currently has 5,000 kilograms of Mamba, enough to treat nearly 1,000 children, ready for distribution to its clinical partners. An additional 5,000 kilograms is being shipped from its Cap-Haitien-based factory.

"We are working feverishly to arrange transportation of these supplies to our partner network in Port-au-Prince, which includes Grace Children's Hospital, Doctors Without Borders and Gheskio, a leading HIV/AIDS treatment center," says Tom Stehl, MFK coordinator of operations.

For MFK, that will only be the beginning of its task. In coming weeks, MFK will increase production to turn out 10,000 more kilograms of Mamba, which it will distribute to children whose lives are threatened by ongoing shortages of food. Patricia Wolff, MD, MFK's founder and executive director, has arrived in Haiti to supervise these efforts.

"There were 250,000 malnourished children in Haiti before the earthquake struck," says Stehl, "and we know there will be a dramatic increase in this number as the second wave of the crisis hits."

One urgent problem is obtaining enough raw materials -- peanuts, sugar, oil, dried milk, vitamins and minerals -- to produce this new supply of Mamba. Just before the quake hit, MFK had a large container with $80,000 worth of materials in the capital's seaport, which was completely destroyed by the quake. MFK believes all of those materials are lost and is in a race to replace them as quickly as possible.

The fundraising process is underway. Generous donors, including Scottrade, an online brokerage firm, have stepped forward to make possible new shipments of Mamba ingredients to other ports. But more money is urgently needed to make these emergency efforts possible.

The Benefits of Medika Mamba and Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food

Research conducted over the past 15 years demonstrates that Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food such as Medika Mamba has the following benefits:

--  It can rapidly put weight on a sick child;
--  It costs less and is more effective than hospitalization or dry food
--  With Medika Mamba treatment, more than 85 percent of children
    recover, while only 24-40 percent recover after other treatment methods.

Visit the MFK YouTube channel to learn more about MFK and Medika Mamba.

About Meds & Food for Kids (MFK)

Founded in 2004, Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) is a St. Louis-based non-profit that is saving the lives of Haiti's malnourished children by producing and distributing highly nutritious foods, including Medika Mamba (Creole for "peanut butter medicine"), a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) endorsed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Because of its commitment to Haiti's long-term development -- not just rescue -- MFK produces Medika Mamba in Haiti, with Haitian labor, and many Haitian raw materials. For more information on MFK, visit

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Tom Stehl
    Meds & Food for Kids, Coordinator of Operations