Precious Leano, co-founder of Art Relief Mobile Kitchen (ARMK), has seen the struggles of poor communities across the country brought about by the pandemic, and recently, Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.
“Thousands are homeless here in Tiwi. The people make do with whatever is available to fix their homes,” describes Leano. She and ARMK volunteers spent eight days in Albay to serve meals to affected families before moving to Cagayan where they have again set-up shop to serve hot meals to those who need it.
Established in 2013, ARMK has been feeding disaster-stricken families in various locations across the country by establishing local community kitchens, raising funds, and partnering with various sectors. During this pandemic, one of ARMK’s main partners, Jollibee Group Foundation, has enabled it to feed several communities in Pasay City, Lipa, Los Baños, and Davao for extended periods.
Leano, who is hands-on when it comes to meal preparation and distribution, acknowledges the importance of eating nutritious food during these times when we need to take care of our health the most. “We are really grateful to the Jollibee Group. The Jollibee Group Foundation reached out to me to inform us about their FoodAID Program, and that they can give us food products to use in our mobile kitchens. That was a moment of grace. Truly, help arrives at the exact time we need it,” she said.
Part of the food packs donated by the Jollibee Group to institutional kitchen partners like ARMK are its Chicken Guisado and Beef Meatballs. The Jollibee Group has leveraged its expertise in meal preparation and product development to come up with these specially designed food ingredients that allow more people to be fed nutritious meals at a lower cost, without compromising taste.
“People are happy to receive hot meals during this time. The Chicken Guisado and Beef Meatballs provided by the Jollibee Group, for instance, are delicious food served packed with a nutritional value which we used to make different types of dishes. We, in the kitchen, also appreciate that these meals are versatile and easy to cook since we need to move fast and feed as many people as we can during our visits,” Leano added.
“We have the potential to serve healthy meals to more people through these Chicken Guisado and Beef Meatball products. Imagine, every P20-worth of the donation will already be able to share a hearty and filling meal with a person in need,” said Jollibee Group Foundation Executive Director Gisela Tiongson.
The residents of Pangarap Village in Caloocan have also received Chicken Guisado or sauteed chicken through JGF’s FoodAID program. “Tuwang-tuwa sila kasi hindi de lata. Napakalaking tulong na sa kanila ‘yong may uulamin sila sa loob ng ilang araw, tapos masustansiya pa (They [beneficiaries] were happy because this is different from the canned goods they usually receive. Having something nutritious to eat for how many days is already a huge help for them),” said Merlyn Lopez-Sunga, Development Management Officer and Area Coordinator of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), another Jollibee Group partner in feeding urban poor communities during the pandemic.
To date, the Jollibee Group through its partners has distributed 18,405 packs of its Chicken Guisado and Beef Meatball Products, benefitting 115,995 individuals affected by the pandemic and the recent typhoons. This also includes support from Singapore-based Temasek Foundation, which has provided a grant to help reach more communities.
Not only has the Jollibee Group come up with these new products, it has also made donating to the Jollibee Group FoodAID Program easier and more convenient for the public. Interested donors may donate through online bank transfer to the Foundation’s Metrobank (Account number: 473-7-473-01406-4, SWIFT Code: MBTCPHMM) and RCBC (1253-10519-0) accounts, or via PayMaya (http://pymy.co/jollibee). Starting this month, the public may also donate through GCash and GrabRewards.
“Our team is wishing for the continuous success of the Jollibee Group FoodAID program, and we hope more and more people will support it, so we can also bring help to more people in need,” Leano said.
JGF is the social development arm of Jollibee Group, one of the fastest-growing Asian restaurant companies in the world. As a local champion for promoting access to food, JGF implements programs on food innovation, and food distribution as part of its disaster response efforts, together with partner organizations and communities nationwide.