Peanut-Based Food Treats Severe Malnutrition

Mardi Manary, RN, BSN, will be the guest speaker at the 2014 World Day of Prayer, an ecumenical service for people of all faiths to come together Friday, March 7. Locally the service will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Zion United Church of Christ, 115 Washington St. in Union.

All people who wish to be a part of the observance are welcome. Church Women United of Franklin County sponsors the event.

“Streams in the Desert” is the theme this year. The focus of Manary presentation will be Africa.

Manary and her husband, Dr. Mark Manary, a professor at Washington University School of Medicine who practices at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, researched the peanut-based food, RUTF (ready-to-use therapeutic food) that has become the “standard of care” for the treatment of severe malnutrition throughout the world.

Once they had proved that the peanut-based RUTF could raise the recovery rate for severe malnutrition from 27-40 percent to 90 percent, the Manarys started a nonprofit, Project Peanut Butter, to produce and distribute this peanut-based food and to teach the proper use of the food.

They now have three national programs, each with a factory that can produce enough RUTF to treat all the malnourished children of those countries.

Project Peanut Butter has helped multiple clinics, hospitals, and orphanages in several African countries and the Philippines. This allows these projects to treat the severely malnourished children in their care now, not wait for a national program.

Project Peanut Butter is researching formulas specifically for chronically ill adults and malnourished pregnant women.

This year’s service was written by the church women in Egypt.

Women of several churches will lead the service. Music will be led by Suzanne Barreth. An offering will be received which will help support the various ministries for women and children which are supported by World Day of Prayer.

Refreshments and fellowship, to which everyone is invited, will follow in the fellowship hall of the church. Sheila Baer will have Plowsharing Crafts, handmade crafts from many nations, available for purchase before and after the service.

World Day of Prayer is a worldwide ecumenical movement of Christian women of many faith traditions, who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year on the first Friday of March.

Men, women and children in more than 170 countries will celebrate and open the service for 2014 with a reminder that harmony as a people is rooted in peace and welcome. World Day of Prayer was founded on the idea that prayer and action are inseparable in the service of God’s Kingdom.

Each year a different country serves as the writer of the service. This year the Christian Women of Egypt developed the theme. The women name fair and just governance as the basis for peace. It takes courage, compassion and active engagement for justice to prevail.

World Day of Prayer will begin at the first sunrise on March 7 in the Pacific region and follow the earth’s orbit, shining its light on the country of Egypt and the rest of the world. This year the women of Egypt invite us into a time of worship with the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“I am making a way in the wilderness and streams of the desert.”

An exploration of the Samaritan woman’s conversation with Jesus at the well, leads to thoughts about the “living water” in the service.

Church Women United is an ecumenical group of women from several churches in Franklin County, but it is open to all. Any church wishing to participate is invited to come to the monthly meetings held at First Presbyterian Church on Main Street in Union, the third Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. Carol Gruber and Dorothy Clarkson are co-presidents.