Written by philippines

Written by Caroline Da Silva, Makesense Ambassador

It is safe to say that no one expected the situation COVID-19 has brought upon us, or the change it brought upon our daily routine overnight! While most of us are adjusting to this “new normal”, we just cannot turn a blind eye on what is happening beyond the safety of our homes. The situation has impacted a great lot in our communities – not only the businesses, may it be large or small – but also the people that depend on them. 

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and let fear immobilise us. But one pillar of thought in social innovation involves how to see the opportunity inside each problem. They may come in many different forms, but by looking at the problem from a different perspective, a more action-oriented approach can lead you right to it!

The Action-Oriented Response

“If you focus too much on every single problem and hurdle, you might not even get started. As long as you have the right structures in place, everything will follow and if you have faith in your abilities, you can find a way to get things done.”

– Colene Tan,
Organizing Member of COVID19 Food Drive

In these extraordinary times, ordinary citizens are rising up to the occasion to do extraordinary things for their communities. An example is COVID19 Food Drive, an initiative by a group of students and faculty from Enderun Colleges to make sure underprivileged families are nourished and well fed during the period of the enhanced community quarantine. 

I had a chat with Colene Tan, one of the organising members of COVID19 Food Drive.

Caroline: Hi Colene! I am writing about initiatives of citizens who are inspired to take action in these trying times. I immediately thought of your food drive because of its unique model of Restaurants for Hire to prepare 72,000 meals! How did you start with this initiative? 

Restaurant grade quality meals for adopted barangays created by Restaurants to the Rescue, who are small food businesses.
Restaurant grade quality meals for adopted barangays created by Restaurants to the Rescue, who are small food businesses. 

Colene: The COVID 19 Food Drive PH  was formerly known as the Enderun Community Drive. Founded in 2009 after Typhoon Ondoy, we have since been mobilizing for various relief operations from time to time over the last 10 years. Originally composed of students and faculty, today it has evolved into an ad hoc organization that mobilizes as the need arises. 

Our current model is quite different as it also supports food service workers and small food business owners who are struggling to sustain their business during these uncertain times. We created a pool of  “Restaurants to the Rescue”. We currently have a total of 15 restaurants on our list each with their own capacities and we coordinate closely with them to ensure that proper food guidelines are followed and our targets are met. 

“The COVID 19 Food Drive PH  was formerly known as the Enderun Community Drive. Founded in 2009 after Typhoon Ondoy, we have since been mobilizing for various relief operations from time to time over the last 10 years. Originally composed of students and faculty, today it has evolved into an ad hoc organization that mobilizes as the need arises. “

Caroline: How many adopted barangays did you start off with? Has it increased since you first launched the campaign?

Colene: We started with just 3 barangays and that quickly grew as we now have served 12 barangays in over 7 cities in Metro Manila. We will try to continue serving as long as the donations keep on coming during this community quarantine.

A family receiving their meal packs

Caroline: Your goal is quite ambitious, how did you come up with the goal of 72,000 meals? Did you not feel daunted when you were about to launch the campaign? 

Colene: Our goal was very ambitious and when we started out, we never thought that we would be able to reach it. The 72,000 meals target was computed if we were to feed a barangay for 30 days, the number of days in the original community lock down. 

Our strategies may have changed but the goal was still the same: to help the neediest of communities and help the food industry at the same time. We were very daunted but we just focused on the task at hand and tried to serve one barangay at a time.

The Medical Company of the NCR RCDG ARESCOM, under the command of Capt. Sharon Reyes (Dr. Sharon in her civilian life). they have undertaken the daunting task of delivering over 51,000 meals door-to-door.

Caroline: That is amazing work feeding 12 barangays across various cities in Metro Manila! Truly shows that if you know your “why” it will always be the driving force to move forward no matter what the circumstances may be. Lastly, if there is anything that you have learned from this whole experience what would it be? 

“Our strategies may have changed but the goal was still the same:

To help the neediest of communities and help the food industry at the same time.”

Colene: I’ve learned that the power of just doing what needs to be done with a focused and determined team can achieve anything. If you focus too much on every single problem and hurdle, you might not even get started. As long as you have the right structures in place, everything will follow and if you have faith in your abilities, you can find a way to get things done.


Want to be involved?

If you too want to adopt a barangay or would simply want to know more about COVID19 Food Drive. You can visit their Facebook Page and Instagram.