When we say we’re hungry, it can mean many things. We skip breakfast since we’re on that trendy intermittent fasting diet. We forego lunch because we have to rush a presentation for the boss. We say “no” to rice at dinner in the hopes of losing those pesky 5 pounds. But the hunger that ensues always entails a choice—to eat less or to not eat at all. For the folks at Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization that’s been in the Philippines since 2000, it’s a different kind of hunger that they hope to alleviate, with their annual fundraising efforts kicking into high gear from October 1 to December 1, 2019.
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What then does hunger mean for the many millions of Filipinos who eat less, not out of choice, but out of circumstance? For Action Against Hunger (AAH), it means malnutrition caused mainly by poverty, diseases and epidemics, natural disasters, and conflicts, with the youngest being the most vulnerable. According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology, around 4 million Filipino children under 5 years old (that’s 33.4% of kids in that age group) are malnourished, with the Philippines ranking 9th among countries with the highest number of malnourished children.
Since 2016, Action Against Hunger has raised awareness and funds through its annual “Restaurants Against Hunger” campaign involving food establishments donating a portion of the proceeds from chosen items on their menus, and raising awareness among the dining public in the process. This year, the campaign has been renamed “Love Food Give Food,” with AAH’s Fundraising and Resource Development Manager Nelson Divinagracia explaining the new thrust, “Unlike its previous version, ‘Love Food Give Food’ is not limited to restaurants. We hope to get the support of all types of food establishments, food kiosks, bakeries, cafés, carinderias, and even home-based online food vendors.”
Here’s how the campaign works: an establishment selects 1 or 2 or more dishes from its menu or product list, identifies them as “Charity Dishes” with a portion of the sales to be donated to AAH’s projects in the Philippines. Select restaurants will also have donation boxes on hand for diners who wish to give directly to AAH.
The proceeds will help finance AAH’s nutrition and health, water, sanitation and hygiene, food security and livelihood projects operating in communities all around the Philippines, with the express aim to prevent malnutrition, especially among young children who are most vulnerable to the potentially irreversible effect of malnutrition.
As of this writing, establishments that have already committed to joining “Love Food Give Food” include Alba, Baker &Cook, Café Mediterranean, Chef Laudico OK Café, Chelsea Kitchen, Corner Tree Café, Cyma, Denny’s, Friends & Family, Gallery by Chele, Green Pastures, Italianni’s, Izakaya Sensu, Kabila, La Petite Fromagerie, The Lost Bread, Providore, Plank, Saboten, among many others.
AAH is in the process of recruiting more food establishments to join the campaign, with the deadline to register on October 15, 2019. Those interested can simply visit www.lovefoodgivefoodphilippines.org, click the “join now” button, and fill up the online form. Once registered, AAH will send a kit with posters, table cards, menu stickers, and other marketing materials, with no costs required.
Aside from the “Love Food Give Food” campaign, AAH also launched its “P100 for 5 Challenge” which encourages chefs, cooks, and homemakers to come up with a nutritious, delicious, and safe meal good enough to feed a family of five, for just P100.
Participating chefs Jac and Rolando Laudico, Robby Goco, and Chele Gonzalez of Gallery by Chele took on the challenge with enthusiasm, with their own recipes shared on www.lovefoodgivefoodphilippines.org, including easy-to-follow videos directed and produced by Rapunzel Eliserio-Laurel. Divinagracia shares, “We would like to invite more people to take on the challenge and submit their recipes to us. The submitted recipes will be shared with our beneficiaries during the health, hygiene, and sanitation promotion sessions that we conduct in all our projects.”
For those interested to join the “Love Food Give Food” or “P100 for 5 Challenge” campaigns, visit www.lovefoodgivefoodphilippines.or