Sharing with you this story, one that I will always remember, something that kept me busy and fulfilled during this #LifeInTheTimeOfCorona, when a lot are helpless, there will always be people who will reach out to you and tell you, it will be okay and this too, shall pass. I am part of the committee of this “project” and it wasn’t easy, but it was all worth it.
Now the main “event“……
When a community of mommy bloggers came together to feed disadvantaged families in Tondo, little did they know that their project would turn into a huge food assistance program for hundreds of front liners fighting COVID-19.
The Photo that Started It All
It was the first week of ECQ when Clara Alegria “Gie” Ramos, a PR and influencer management professional and founder of BrandBuzz PH, saw a video of an elderly man who said, “mauuna pa kami mamatay sa gutom bago kami mamatay sa virus.”
That image prompted Gie to send a message to her community of mommy bloggers, asking for any leads on how to help him. Eventually they found out that the man was originally staying at Roxas Boulevard and moved to the Delpan Evacuation Center in Tondo along with many informal settlers.
“I asked the moms if we can contribute P500 each so that we can feed the families at Delpan. Hindi madaling maglabas ng pera ngayon, pero maraming tumulong,” said Gie. With the P18,000 they initially raised, the real work began.
JM, a single mother, told Gie, “I can’t contribute financially, but I can help with logistics.” JM volunteered her home as a storage and dispatch center, coordinating with suppliers, cooks, and delivery riders.
When the blogger community received the photos of the grateful lolos and lolas eating the meals they sent, they were deeply moved. They felt that they needed to – and Can DO – more.
A Bigger Goal
Two of the bloggers who are nurses suggested to help medical front liners, too. Gie sent out another call for donations, and this time more volunteers responded, as well as corporations. CDO partnered with BrandBuzz PH by donating food products, enabling the moms to cook home-style meals for many frontliners who are far from their families.
“There are about 5 of us volunteers who cook 50 meals each per day,” explained Krisha, a mom of two. “Then we distribute them to different government hospitals. With the project getting bigger, we needed all the help we can get, and CDO was one of the companies who answered the call. We would send pasta dishes topped with Danes cheese, and rice meals with CDO Funtastyk tocino – gustong-gusto ng frontliners ‘yun!”
Roadblocks and Rewards
With many restrictions under ECQ, there were challenges in the sourcing of ingredients and delivery. But the biggest challenge for the volunteers was physical and emotional exhaustion. Gie shared, “Pinagsasabay mo yung work from home, household chores, homeschooling, at yung feeding progam na full-time din. When my kids told me, you’re here but you don’t talk to us, I realized I was sacrificing my time with my family. But so were the frontliners, that’s why I can’t stop. But things got better once we figured out a system.”
“And when the doctors and nurses send their photos enjoying the food, seeing their joy and reading their messages make everything worth it. Nakaka-inspire,” mused Krisha.
For JM, her 7-year-old daughter also inspires her to keep going. “When I see her writing notes to the frontliners and praying for them nang hindi ko inuutusan – I know we are doing something right.”
What Collaboration Can DO
These moms attribute the success of the project to their supportive blogger community and corporate partners. To date, the group has raised over P1Million worth of donations. With over 50 volunteer cooks and growing, they plan to feed underprivileged families as well. “The task is much bigger, but with steady partners like CDO, Clara Ole, San Remo, Ellie Cooking Oil, Tupperware and Styrotech, who are committed to working with volunteers like us in feeding our brave front liners, we Can DO this,” said Gie.
Even in the darkest times, with the influence of compassionate individuals and the support of caring communities and companies, there is so much we Can DO together to make the world brighter.