While many groups like Frontline Feeders and Salamat PH Healthcare Heroes have been tirelessly providing meals to the doctors and staff at hospitals in and around Metro Manila, feeding programs for communities affected by the crisis are only just getting started. The challenge here is that, with the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, a large part of the population cannot go to work, and for many of them, that means not getting the food they need to survive.
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While feeding programs and community kitchens have started to pop up around the metropolis, one of the earliest groups to work with these communities at risk was COVID19 Food Drive PH which first put out a call to donate on March 18.
COVID19 Food Drive PH is an ongoing community drive that was first formed in the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009. Initially named the Enderun Community Drive, the group mobilizes organically when members of the Enderun Colleges community feel the need to do something, most recently during the Taal Volcano eruption last January.
Since the initial call, Enderun alumni have mobilized again, launching a campaign to deliver meals to target communities with a large population of urban poor. Because of the quarantine guidelines, the Enderun kitchens could not be put into use. Instead, partner restaurants and commissaries receive donations and produce meals, with the Philippine Army Reserve taking responsibility for pick-up and door-to-door distribution.
Enderun Colleges assistant dean Bel Castro shares that the current effort is being run by three Enderun alumni. “What we did is look for small operators and bulk buy from them so that their ingredients don’t go to waste and their skeleton staff can get a small stipend,” she discloses.
The group’s third day already achieved milestones of 12,000 meals, 1,000 face masks for frontliners, 300 meals and water for Barangay 310, Zone 31, District III in Manila, and 5,000 meals for Upper Bicutan in Taguig.
To donate to COVID19 Food Drive PH, click on Facebook.com/Covid19 Food Drive PH