Askinosie Chocolate released a new product called Tableya, and sold enough in the first month to fund a school lunch program for students at Malagos Elementary School in Davao, Philippines. It’s another venture from a company that is racking up Specialty Food awards left and right. And, at the same time, they are giving back in this partnership with Convoy of Hope.
The product is called Tableya (Tab-LEE-ah), and is a traditional Filipino hot chocolate drink made with cocoa liquor formed into tablets. Each roll contains 12 tablets, each one making a six ounce cup of hot chocolate when combined with either water or milk. It’s the result of a challenge Shawn Askinosie, founder and CEO of Askinosie Chocolate, made to the PTA at the Malagos Elementary School, near where he sources the bulk of his cocoa beans.
Askinosie said, “I’m excited that this is not just another chocolate product. It’s a traditional drink I’ve had in the Philippines many times. What makes it unique is what we’re doing with the money.” He explained that, while on one of his buying trips he talked with the school about their needs, discovering in the process the depth of the malnutrition among the school students. So, he met with the PTA parents, challenged them to do their part to create a sustainable program, and offered to buy a product if they would make it. The idea of making hot chocolate was, Askinosie said, a natural: “They have competitions among the villages as to who makes the best.”
The Tableya is purchased from the PTA, sold to the Askinosie customers, and ALL proceeds are returned to the school through the feeding program. The first shipment is providing 111,000 meals for the students thanks to assistance from Convoy of Hope, which is working with them to deliver a fortified soy/rice meal for every day’s school lunch. Jeff Nene with Convoy of Hope said, “It comes all the way back to the kids to benefit their lives. It’s a unique partnership that allows us both to do what we do best. Askinosie makes incredible chocolate. Convoy of Hope feeds people around the world. We see this as an opportunity to grow–in fact, there are other businesses who have seen what Shawn has done who may be interested in something similar.”
Success of the program will be literally measured by taking the children’s height, weight, and arm circumference every three months, along with monitoring attendance at school. Plans are to eventually source local food to replace the fortified product, which is specifically designed to address the needs of the malnourished.
“It’s more than just a meal,” said Nene. “You’re actually changing their life.”
“It’s much easier to write a check,” said Askinosie. “But I believe this is a way to alleviate hunger in the world, by partnering and giving them a stake in the outcome. It’s a dent in the bucket of malnutrition around the world,” he added. “But it’s a dent.”