With the pandemic having literally trapped us in our own worlds for seven months and counting, it’s easy to forget that there is more to life than the confines of our homes. Undoubtedly, we often find ourselves complaining about how we can no longer enjoy many of the everyday activities that we may have taken for granted before the lockdown. But hopefully, our new circumstances have made us all realize that we have a lot to be grateful for.
The pandemic has severely worsened the lives of hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions, of Filipinos: from threatening the already precarious food security situation of the indigent population, to disrupting the accessibility of education to the impoverished youth. In response to these pressing issues, countless organizations have started initiatives in order to help stabilize and better the lives of those in need.
Here are a few notable examples:
Pantawid ng Pag-ibig
ABS-CBN Foundation’s “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” campaign aims to supply food to Filipino families who cannot make a living due to the COVID-19 induced quarantine. As of October 5, 2020, with the support of its donors and partners, Pantawid ng Pag-ibig has raised and distributed 461,923,500 pesos worth of goods to over 910,000 families. The families are from all over the country from the National Capital Region (NCR) and 18 provinces including Bacolod, Cebu, and Pampanga. The second phase of their campaign called “Isang Daan, Isang Pamilya” (100, One Family) calls on individuals to donate at least 100 pesos, which is enough to feed a family, emphasizing that a little can truly go a long way. According to their website, “Filipinos responded well.” ABS-CBN Foundation’s marketing head Paul Vincent Mercado explained that “When we pooled in Php100 each from various donors, we were able to share thousands of additional meals with so many more families.”
Founded by Cherrie Atilano, AGREA Philippines’ original aim was to help farmers transition from subsistence farming to small-scale commercial farming, through training them in agricultural entrepreneurship. However, when the nation-wide lockdown was implemented earlier this year, routes that farmers would take to the market were cut off, prompting them to dispose of tonnes of their produce due to a lack of buyers. It was then that AGREA Philippines decided to launch its #MoveFoodInitiatve, which collaborates with local truck drivers and youth food producers to sell edible produce to consumers in Manila – produce that would have otherwise been wasted. Aside from selling the produce, AGREA Philippines has also supported key workers during the pandemic, donating food to eight local kitchens that feed medical frontliners treating COVID-19 patients. To date, the #MoveFoodInitiave has helped over 7,400 farmers sell around 160,000 kg of fruits and vegetables, and has fed more than 2,000 medical workers.
Consumer goods company Unilever Philippines and e-commerce company Lazada partnered for their third Shop 2 Give Hope sale that lasted from midnight on July 1, 2020, to midnight on the following day. Due to the stay-at-home order, students have been prevented from attending classes. To combat this, the funds from the sale were sent to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Philippines, to help ensure youth with no internet access could continue their education by providing learning resources and developing online platforms. By purchasing household essentials like soap, shampoo, and detergent, online shoppers also helped keep underprivileged students from abandoning their studies. The initiative was a success, drawing 16,000 shoppers to support close to a million children.
With the virus showing no signs of slowing down, the lives of those around us continue to worsen each day. But, as these three initiatives remind us, it does not take much to make a significant, positive difference in the lives of those around us.
Broom, Douglas. “This Entrepreneur Is Helping Farmers Get Food to Consumers during Lockdown.” World Economic Forum, 15 May 2020, http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/philippines-farmers-coronavirus-lockdown/.
Corp., ABS-CBN. “Lingkod Kapamilya.” SAGIP KAPAMILYA – LINGKOD KAPAMILYA 2020, 24 Sept. 2020, corporate.abs-cbn.com/lingkodkapamilya/sagip-kapamilya/article/pid-1600934522616/pantawid-ng-pag-ibig-aids-more-than-910-000-families-affected-by-quarantine.
INQUIRER.net. “Buying Your Essentials Online Will Help Kids Go to School.” Inquirer.net, 27 June 2020, business.inquirer.net/301022/buy-your-essentials-online-create-a-brighter-future.
Joseph, Kavell. “Youth-Led Solutions during COVID-19: The Food Crisis.” World Bank Blogs, 18 June 2020, blogs.worldbank.org/jobs/youth-led-solutions-during-covid-19-food-crisis.
Philippines, Unilever. “Shop to Give: Online Shopping to Help Kids in Need.” News.abs-cbn.com , 17 Oct. 2018, news.abs-cbn.com/advertorial/life/10/16/18/shop-to-give-online-shopping-to-help-kids-in-need.
Philippines, Unilever. “Shop to Give: Online Shopping to Help Kids in Need.” News.abs-Cbn.com , 17 Oct. 2018, news.abs-cbn.com/advertorial/life/10/16/18/shop-to-give-online-shopping-to-help-kids-in-need. Philstar.com. “Unilever-Lazada Sale Draws 16,000 Shoppers in Support of Education of Filipino Children, Youth.” Philstar.com, 24 July 2020, http://www.philstar.com/lifestyle/health-and-family/2020/06/30/2023724/shop2give-hope-filipino-families-children-affected-pandemic-heres-how.