While out walking one day in Toluquilla, Mexico several years ago, Dr. Lee Baggett's heart felt burdened as he noticed there were two types of children out on the streets.
The majority were lethargic, he said, with thin hair falling out, potbellies, swollen legs, blotchy faces and blank stares. The others were ruddy-faced, alert and active. Their hair was thick and strong, they had no swollen bellies or legs.
There was one essential dietary component, which made the latter children more healthy-looking, he explained: a daily tablespoon of alfalfa concentrate. The children's parents likely had it processed at the local community center before feeding the leftover alfalfa grass to their animals.
Alfalfa concentrate can be used in recipes and as a juice. It provides a high level of protein, vitamin A, calcium and magnesium, and therefore becomes a cheap and sustainable dietary supplement.
Now serving as executive director of Hands in Service Ministries (HISM), a ministry in Mexico that receives funding from Texas Baptist Hunger Offering via the Amarillo Baptist Association, Baggett helps raise awareness and resources, such as equipment to make alfalfa concentrate, in order to help families have a healthier and longer life.
HISM also values education to help resolve malnutrition, Baggett said. They teach people to build outhouses, decontaminate water, budget their expenses, select nutritious food options for their diet and garden at their own homes to produce vegetables, fruits and small animals to eat better for a lot less.
Through the work of the ministry, Baggett has seen an improvement in people's overall well-being from their healthier lifestyle choices.
"They are not as sickly as before," he said. "They are able the think more clearly. They develop a community spirit as they work together to improve the health of their own communities."
Many doors have even been opened for the local Christians to easily share the Gospel.
"The brothers who direct the program earn their confidence by working with the community on the project, which gives them an open door to share the Good News with many families," Baggett said.
May 10, 2015 - Every mother deserves a day, and every child deserves a meal. Celebrate this Mother's Day by supporting ministries like Hands in Service Ministries, which seek to end hunger, through the Mother's Day Hunger Offering. Learn more at texasbaptists.org/hungeroffering.
Baggett said Texas Baptists can be praying for HISM ministries in these areas: