Dream Dinners Connecting Heart to Service in Ecuador

The Dream Dinners Foundation provides millions of meals to children fighting food insecurity in local communities and abroad. 

This past March, we were fortunate enough to spend our 20th-anniversary seeing firsthand the impact these meals have on the lives of others. The team spent one week visiting a community we provide meals to in San Pedro, Manabi, Ecuador. Nestled about 35 minutes from the coast of Manta, San Pedro is a rural community filled with genuine, happy, and grateful people. Partnering with Kids Around The World and Generation Hope, we were able to come together and build a playground for the local children. We connected with community members and celebrated the grand opening of the local playground with hundreds of children, parents, and the Governor of the state of Manabi.

It was an incredible experience to spend time in the community and get to know the beautiful people. The community was full of love, strength, selflessness, and perseverance. Spending time with community members reminded us why we are committed to connecting heart to service, fighting world hunger, and making a difference in the lives of others. We are thrilled to introduce you to this beautiful community,  The Dream Dinners Foundation, and the impact we can make with your help. 

Connecting Heart to Service in San Pedro, Manabi, Ecuador

Dream Dinners has recently partnered with Kids Around the World and Generation Hope to serve the community of San Pedro, Manabi, Ecuador. Kids Around the World and GenHope work to change the lives of kids and the communities around them. They do this through food, play, and story. First, the community is supplied with a sustainable and reliable food source. Next, the community receives a brand new playground for the local children. Finally, roots are established in the community to assist in growing great kids through story club. Story club meets weekly and is an opportunity for community members to learn, grow, and connect with one another. Generation Hope establishes environments called “Hope Zones” in impoverished and under-reached communities around the globe. They work to spread love and impact the children and families in the delegated settings. San Pedro, Manabi, Ecuador is GenHope’s largest hope zone. 

Generation Hope is a community-to-community model. They join groups in the US with communities around the world. Thank You to Kids Around the World for connecting Dream Dinners with the beautiful community of San Pedro, Manabi, Ecuador. We are so blessed to have had the opportunity to travel to Pacoche and see firsthand the impact being made. By serving this community, we help meet the physical, social, & emotional needs of children who live there. Children receive nutritious daily meals packed with love through our meal packing events. Thank You to all of our stores and their volunteers who work diligently to pack meals for communities like the one we serve here in Ecuador. We were able to see the difference these meals make on so many families and how grateful they were to receive a helping hand. 

Our Time in Ecuador

On Sunday, February 27th, the Dream Dinners family set out for a long trip to Ecuador. Amongst the team were Dream Dinners CEO Tina Kuna and Dream Dinners Foundation CEO, Valerie Bass. The team also included home office employees and several franchise owners. Thank You to Jenn Robinson, owner of Dream Dinners Belmont, CA, Tania Monroe, owner of Dream Dinners Pearland, TX; and Sara Gilbride, owner of Dream Dinners Ahwatukee and North Phoenix, AZ, for the impact they are making at home and abroad.

As a team, we were fortunate enough to take part in directly serving the community of Pacoche. Over 3 days, we built a brand new playground for the local children. The new playground offers a safe space for kids and families to gather and have fun as they build relationships together. It was truly a blessing to see the smiles on hundreds of children in the community as they had a blast playing on their brand new backyard play place.

As a hope zone partner, Dream Dinners was able to get to know the kids and families in the community of San Pedro. Nothing could interfere with the team and the community connecting. Language barriers could not even get in the way! Over a week, we worked hand in hand with community members to build the new playground. We took (several) futbol breaks, taught the girls some jump rope games, decorated our bodies with stickers, and played with the children on their brand-new playground. While sitting and talking with parents, they expressed so much gratitude for the work being done for their community. They were so excited to have a place in their backyard for the children to gather and play.

Families invited us into their homes with welcoming arms, where we gathered around the family table to spend quality time together. We helped distribute meals provided through meal-packing events hosted by Dream Dinners stores. The team attended a StoryClub where we learned more about the community and the program’s benefits. Finally, we celebrated the grand opening with hundreds of the community members. At the celebration, we continued to connect and express our appreciation. It was a humbling experience to be able to take part in the Dream Dinners mission abroad: spending quality time around the dinner table.

Impacting Communities through Play

Playgrounds are an essential piece of childhood development. The impact of a playground goes far beyond providing a fun place for kids to gather. Extensive research demonstrates the power of play and its effect on children’s emotional, social, physical, and academic well-being. Playgrounds assist children in acquiring a large variety of skills. Specifically, coordination, motor skills, cognitive abilities, social awareness, language, etc. Playing is also a form of exercise, positively impacting children’s physical health.

Having the freedom and space to play with others also has a variety of emotional impacts. Playgrounds allow children to retain a sense of control unavailable in many other parts of their lives. Kids Around the World can see these impacts firsthand by helping to build playgrounds in communities across the globe. “The benefits are often what is needed most in places where the brokenness of this world hits kids the hardest through child labor and exploitation, neighborhood violence and war, or the limited resources available to children living in deep poverty.” -KATW.

Dream Dinners directly saw the positive impact the new playground had on this rural area in San Pedro, Manabi, Ecuador. Despite the harsh living conditions in the community, the people were filled with hope, joy, excitement, and gratitude. Children in the community blocked off their schedules for the playground’s opening day. Parents visited to help build with our team. They expressed how grateful they were to have somewhere for the kids to gather within walking distance of their homes. On opening day, hundreds of children and their families gathered to celebrate the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Governor of Manabi, Ecuador, joined us in celebration. To some, a playground may seem like a small thing. But to this community of people, it meant everything! Joy-filled children frolicked around the playground warming the hearts of everyone who watched.

We came to the community to provide, and instead, the community provided us with so much. Lasting memories, a shifted perspective, and a reminder of what is important. Thank You to Kids Around The World and our terrific guides, Steve and Jackie, who quickly went from guides to friends. To Fabian and Graciella of the Pachoce Ministry, Thank You for welcoming us into your home, teaching us more about the community, and dedicating your lives to helping this beautiful community prosper. Last but not least, Thank You from the bottom of our hearts to the community as a whole! We will remember this experience, and all of you, for the rest of our lives.

Serve Locally, Impact Globally

Through The Dream Dinners Foundation, OneMeal, and the help of our stores across the Nation, Dream Dinners has been able to make a difference in the lives of others. We have donated over 16 million meals for various causes in the United States and Abroad. Franchisees that host meal packing events bring together hundreds of volunteers to pack thousands of meals for those in need. Through OneMeal, we can provide these meals directly to the community we serve in Ecuador. With the help of our Franchisees and their volunteers, we can deliver hope to the community in the form of nutritious food. After the meals are packed at our meal packing events, they return to OneMeal Warehouses. From there, they are loaded into shipping containers and shipped to our partners in Ecuador.

OneMeal Nutrition

These meals help to serve children facing food insecurity through daily feeding programs. Through the hard work of everyone involved, we can provide a reliable and consistent source of food for kids in the community in Ecuador. When we fight food insecurity, the children in the community can focus on learning, growing, playing, and building a future for themselves. Meals packed at our events are Non-GMO, plant-based, high protein, and vitamin-rich. The nutrients found in these meals are critical to physical growth and development, including brain development. The food also includes a unique blend of 24 essential vitamins, filling a significant dietary deficit often found in situations of food insecurity. 

Dream Dinners Making a Difference

Thank You to all of our volunteers and Franchisees who participate in meal packing events. Because of you, we can turn our dream of fighting world hunger into a reality! We would like to give our Franchisees a special shoutout who hosted meal packing events in 2021. In 2021, we gathered 500 volunteers to pack 275,000 meals for communities in need. A big Thank You to these stores and all of their volunteers for working locally so that we can impact globally.

  •  Pearland, TX Dream Dinners: September 2021
  •  Belmont, CA Dream Dinners: May 2021
  • Missouri City, TX Dream Dinners: November 2021

Customers Supporting the Cause

When you choose Dream Dinners as your family’s dinnertime solution, you support The Dream Dinners Foundation and our fight against world hunger. Each month, one dollar from every purchase of our Featured Menu Item goes directly to the Foundation to help children in need. In 2021, we raised $51,000 to help feed families worldwide. Thank You to all of our customers and store owners for helping us fight food insecurity around the world!

Be sure to look out for our Meal of the Month each month to help support the cause. 1$ from every meal purchased is donated to the Dream Dinners Foundation to feed families in need locally and worldwide. In March, our meal of the month is our Cattleman’s Pie. For every Cattleman’s Pie Purchased, one dollar will be donated directly to the Foundation to help feed children throughout the world. Coming up in April, our meal of the month is our Honey Chipotle Pork Tenderloin. Make sure to add this meal to your order to join us in the fight against hunger! 

The Dream Dinners Foundation

Dream Dinners was founded on a mission to grow great kids and strengthen families by bringing them together around the dinner table. The Foundation was developed out of a deep commitment to serving communities in need. We strive to provide opportunities to make an impact through acts of service that aid families who have experienced some of life’s most difficult challenges. The Foundation hopes to develop generations of leaders that live daily to love their neighbors as themselves. 

Dream Dinners franchisees across the nation work hard in their communities to help those in need. Due to their efforts with funding and service, Dream Dinners has donated over 16 million meals for various causes in the United States and abroad. We are incredibly grateful for all of our customers. We appreciate each and every one of you. By supporting Dream Dinners, you support the Dream Dinners Foundation and our work to help families who need it most. If you are looking for more ways to help, there are several ways you can join us.

1. Donate

Donate directly to our Foundation to provide meals to families in need. Any amount helps us achieve our goals! Just 27 cents can provide one meal for a child, helping reverse the effects of malnutrition. Choose between a one-time donation or one that re-occurs monthly.

2. Meal Packing Events

Join us in the fight against hunger by volunteering at one of our Meal Packing Events. These events are a unique opportunity to impact the lives of others. We can directly provide meals to communities in need both locally and abroad through these events. By bringing together hundreds of families & friends to volunteer, we can teach our youth the importance of helping others. Each event is fun, fast-paced, and a purposeful act of love and service attendees will remember for their lifetime.

At each event, volunteers work together to assemble packages of food scientifically designed to reverse the effects of malnutrition and starvation. Each meal consists of soy protein, 24 essential vitamins and minerals, dehydrated vegetables, and rice. The meals are dispersed to local communities and communities abroad. Food-insecure countries (like the community in Ecuador) receive 2/3 of the packed meals. The remaining meals stay local to help those in need right in our backyard. Keep up to date with meal packing events at  https://www.dreamdinnersfoundation.org/events. Volunteer locally to fight against hunger!

3. Meal of The Month

Another way to contribute is by adding the Meal of the Month to your Dream Dinners order. One dollar from each purchase goes to the Dream Dinners Foundation to help children in need. In March, our Meal of the Month is our Cattleman’s Pie. In April, add our Honey Chipotle Pork Tenderloin to your order to contribute to the fight against hunger. 

Thank You!

Thank you to all of our customers, franchisees, employees, partners, volunteers, and the entire Dream Dinners community. You have made it possible for Dream Dinners to impact the world. Dream Dinners is so grateful for 20 years of business. We strive to continue to help families gather around the dinner table and serve communities in need. Thank you to our customers who have become a part of the Dream Dinners family!