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Sacred Heart Savings Cooperative: Opening Doors for the Youth To Enter Farming

Majority of farmers are aging, with 40 to 45 years of age being considered young, for a farmer. Following this, there is a need for more members of the youth to take part in agriculture. Among the organizations supporting youth farmers is Sacred Heart Savings Cooperative.

SHSC, a multi-purpose cooperative based in Ilocos Sur, joined Jollibee Group Foundation’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP) in 2013. As FEP’s local implementing partner, SHSC partnered with local farmers, including the Tagudin Agro-Entrepreneurs Association.

However, to ensure sustainability, the group felt it was important to get younger members onboard. In 2019, the cooperative launched a youth farming initiative to encourage individuals aged 18-30 years old to venture into farming.

Kapag may interested talaga, ine-encourage namin sila para ipagpatuloy…andito lang kami para suportahan sila,” says Stephanie Labcaen, Business Development Center Head.

Youth farmers more strongly take the opportunity to attend training courses about agriculture, as well as joining government or non-government agriculture related programs. They apply new technologies and farm techniques to improve their production lines. Youth farmers also transact directly with organizations that can help them with capital for their production. They also make simple business plans as the basis for how they run their farms.

Part of their learnings came from taking part in FEP.

Sa pamamagitan ng FEP, mas napahusay nila ang kanilang abilidad sa pamamalakad ng kanilang bukirin,” said Labcaen.

She adds that youth farmers were able to buy farm equipment from the income they earned from their farms. The training also helped them in their ability to transact with the market even without the technical officers of the cooperative.

According to youth farmer Patrick Andaya, farming is a good way to help one’s family. It is also necessary to assure a steady food supply.

Andaya says, “Ang gusto kong sabihin sa iba pang mga youth na gustong pumasok sa
agrikultura ay huwag nilang ikahiya ang pagiging magsasaka, dahil agrikultura ang
pangunahing kailangan ng mga tao [para sa] bigas, mga gulay, at iba pa.

How the Guinayangan LGU supported the success of farmers

With around 70% of its land dedicated to agriculture, the economy of Guinayangan is powered by farmers and fisherfolk. Guinayangan, one of 39 municipalities that comprise Quezon Province, is led by Mayor Cesar Isaac. In recognition of the key role of agriculture in countryside development, the mayor partnered with Jollibee Group Foundation to expand opportunities for farmer constituents.

As part of JGF’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program, the local government of Guinayangan under Mayor Isaac sent agricultural technicians to learn how farmers can earn more from their harvest. They shared their lessons with the farmers from the Samahan ng Magugulay ng Guinayangan, and trained them on how to sell to institutional buyers like Jollibee.

Before FEP, oversupply was a problem. Farmers sometimes overproduced crops without sure buyers, leaving their harvest to rot, while others planted on a trial-and-error basis. If the market was not responsive, they would look for another crop and try again.

Using lessons from FEP, Mayor Isaac’s team encouraged farmers to approach the production process like a business. After going through the FEP training and process, the farmers could plant hot peppers in large quantities that were scheduled to be delivered to Jollibee at an agreed-upon price.

Mayor Isaac noted how the LGU played an important role in bringing FEP to the local farmers.

Kami ang nag-roroll out [ng FEP] sa mga farmer,” Mayor Isaac said. “Yan ang malaking role namin, and then sinusuportahan namin sa iba nilang pangangailangan during the training sa FEP.

Part of the roll out included providing orientations, materials, and other government support that the farmers need.

Mayor Isaac also established a consolidation center to gather excess produce. The mayor’s office took charge of transporting the produce and finding willing buyers instead of allowing the farmers to sell at disadvantageous prices or worse, let the products go to waste.

In the future, Mayor Isaac hopes that the partnership with Jollibee can be expanded to include other crops, like ube and ginger. The mayor remains optimistic that hot pepper is only the beginning of a fruitful partnership with Jollibee.

Green Habits Agri Trading: Helping farmers in need during the pandemic

A daughter of Davao, Nelben Moreno grew up in a farming community and was raised with the values of hard work, perseverance, love of God, friendship, and the importance of education.

She pursued a degree in agriculture and obtained a master’s degree in a premier institution in the Netherlands through a scholarship. Upon coming home, she joined non-profit organization in working with upland farming communities to improve vegetable production. During her work, she noticed that they were focused on increasing productivity but lent very little attention to marketing, which she remedied by persuading management to create a marketing arm.

In 2019, they partnered with the Jollibee Group Foundation under the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), enabling Nelben to organize smallholder farmers more effectively.

Last year, when the pandemic hit, Nelben made the courageous choice to quit the non- profit and begin a social enterprise, today known as Green Habits Agri Trading. Through this, she connects farmers to a sustainable supply chain and trains them to become entrepreneurs.

They study the market’s needs and produce crops in demand. Nelben says that she developed this concept from JGF, citing the example of Chowking, which needs assorted vegetables such as cabbage, kangkong, sayote and carrots. Farmers are then asked to produce these at the volume required by their buyers.

Among Nelben’s takeaways in her role as leader are taking risks and building relationships with people for effective collaboration. As part of Green Habits’ work, she has enlisted the help of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor and Employment, Villgro Philippines, and JGF.

While the pandemic continues to present new challenges, Green Habits shows that persistence and an openness to learn is essential not just to survive, but thrive in the new normal.

Rhencor Julian: Helping onion farmers transform into agri-entrepreneurs

With the desire to help their farmer members earn more from their harvest, Rhencor Julian,
agro-enterprise (AE) facilitator of the Lourdes Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC), joined
Jollibee Foundation’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP) in 2017.

With help from the mayor’s office in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, Lourdes MPC formed a site
working group to mobilize and train farmers to supply white onions to Jollibee. Rhencor’s team
also went to learn from the Kalasag Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Nueva Ecija which also
supplies onions to Jollibee under FEP.

Rhencor encouraged farmers to approach this partnership as if they were agri-entrepreneurs.
Instead of producing just enough to make ends meet, farmers were challenged to deliver 150-
210 tons of white onions to Jollibee.

The farmers rose to the challenge and even secured a Good Agricultural Practice (GAP)
certification from the Department of Agriculture to ensure the high quality of their products.  

“Dahil sa AE, hindi na kami naghahanap ng buyer,” Rhencor shared. “Sinabi rin ng mga farmers
na nakatanim pa lang ang sibuyas, may presyo na agad. Sabi pa ng farmers, eto pala ang ibig
sabihin ng farming as business. Nag-compute na kami bago pa lang kami magtanim.”

In the four years since they joined the program, the cooperative has successfully supplied over
500 tons of white onions to Jollibee and other clients like the Department of Agriculture’s
Kadiwa. In the coming months, they will also supply their produce to a supermarket

“Proud kami dahil ang unang perception sa amin ng aming community ay hindi naming kayang
magdeliver ng produkto sa isang market tulad ng Jollibee. Unti-unti itong nabago at marami na
ang gustong sumali sa aming coop,” he concluded.

Alcala Onion Growers MPC: Innovating Amidst the Pandemic

The Alcala Onion Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative is the Pangasinan-based supplier
of the white onions used in Jollibee’s burgers and Greenwich’s pizzas. When the world
was struck by the global pandemic, many were affected, with AOGMPC being no
exception. Despite that, they soldiered on.

Among Alcala’s challenges were securing farming supplies and buyers. They turned to
innovation to solve their problems.

A shortage of fertilizer was remedied by instead using vermicast, which is material
earthworms pass through their digestive tract. This is known to enhance soil and
provide good fertilizer for farming. The farmers also used organic fertilizer derived from
animal waste to keep their crops healthy.

Thanks to Alcala’s involvement with Jollibee Group Foundation’s Farmer
Entrepreneurship Program, the farmers are assured of steady buyers even amid such
an unsure economic landscape. On average, Jollibee buys 20% of its annual vegetable
needs from smallholder farmers.

Through the capacity-building programs of FEP, farmers--described as “crucial in
achieving food security during the pandemic” by JGF executive director Gisela
Tiongson--are able to better cope with the present circumstances.

When Jollibee Group Foundation called for partners to help distribute food packs to
families affected by the pandemic, AOGMPC readily responded to help communities
near their area.

And AOGMPC continues extending aid to others. Last year, the aftermath of Typhoon
Ulysses left IP group Dumagat residing in Rizal in dire need of relief. JGF responded by
providing FoodAID congee and juice packs as well as hot meals to affected families.
AOGMPC also raised money to donate to the relief efforts, as well as handing over
sacks of rice to the agriculture department of Region I.

Rolando Pega: Former jeepney conductor earns steady income supplying spring onions to Jollibee Group

Rolando “Lando” Pega never looked at farming seriously until his brother-in-law asked for his help in the field in 2014. The former all-around helper used to work odd jobs as a grocery store assistant and jeepney conductor to make ends meet.

After venturing into farming, Lando came to terms with the hard realities on the ground. Prices were often volatile and farmers received the short end of the stick by selling their harvest to middlemen who took the bulk of the profit.

An opportunity came when microfinance institution Ahon sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI) tapped Lando and a dozen other farmers to sell spring onions directly to Chowking under the Jollibee Group Foundation’s Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP). ASHI provided loans and training in key aspects of entrepreneurship, including values formation and financial literacy.

Since I became an FEP member, through the help of ASHI, we were able to have our own market where prices are stable and our earning is good,” he said in Tagalog.  

Today, Lando earns a steady stream of income delivering spring onions to the Jollibee Group and other restaurants. He also plans to buy a patch of land to increase his harvest and earnings potential.

Armed with lessons from ASHI and FEP, Lando is paying it forward by being a leader of AGAP Farmers Association of Pangil Laguna, where he mobilizes fellow farmers. In recognition of his work, Lando received the Special Award for Agri Micro-Business at the 2019 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards.

But the work is just beginning for Lando. “I want to encourage more farmers to join us so they can also learn how to earn more by selling to big buyers,” he concluded.

Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative: Delivering Directly to Multiple Buyers

Farmers have traditionally sold their produce to middlemen or consolidators, but not
directly to the end-users. But with the Jollibee Group Foundation’s Farmer
Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), farmers now have a process to deliver directly to
restaurants, including big chains like the Jollibee Group.

Take the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative, based in Pinamungajan, Cebu, for

Lamac MPC’s Business Development Center handles receiving bids from farmer
clusters that correspond to their available vegetables for the day. They deliver stocked
orders from the previous day, and pick up vegetables from Sudlon and Dalaguete for
packing and delivery the following day.

The cooperative’s trucks carry 1,000 tons of various vegetables for delivery all over
Cebu. The simultaneous departure of trucks that cover the northern and southern
regions of Cebu ensure that the MPC meets their buyers’ required delivery times.

“It’s really a big blessing for us to sell and deliver our vegetables to Chowking, Jollibee,
and other buyers. It made life easier,” said FEP farmer Timotea Panaginip in Tagalog.

Of course, changing demands may sometimes mean farmers need to increase their
produce, which requires a bigger budget.  

Lamac MPC general manager Maria Elena Limocon said: “Our mission is to respond to
the needs of vulnerable sectors, especially the farmers. We become their financial
intermediator kung kailangan po nila na mag-increase ang kanilang production. [For
that] we have our lending and savings component.”

Thanks to FEP, farmer members have observed an income increase by learning how to
make use of production loans, and enabling them to receive patronage funds and even
dividends from their cooperative.

Farmer leader Ligaya Miras said: “Naging confident kaming farmers bilang members ng
FEP. Hindi lang farmer ang tingin ko sa sarili ko ngayon. Isang ‘agro-preneur’ na po.

Kalasag Multi-purpose Cooperative: Giving A New Meaning to “Farm to Table”

Although the Philippines is an agricultural country, farmers are among the poorest in the land. But for farmers in Nueva Ecija, a long-standing partnership with Jollibee Group Foundation offered a chance to break the cycle of rural poverty.
Under the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), the farmer members of the Kalasag Multi-Purpose Cooperative have been earning a steady stream of income supplying white onions and hot peppers to the Jollibee Group since 2009.
With the support of partners such as the Local Government Unit of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, Kalasag was able to sell over 730 metric tons of white onions to the Jollibee Group in 2017. The farmers’ gross income more than doubled from PHP3.1 million in 2008 to PHP7.6 million in 2010 as the Jollibee Group bought the onions at a higher price and introduced them to other buyers.
The higher income allowed the farmers to pay off debts and invest in machinery, creating the conditions that would enable them to shift away from subsistence production. Today, they are farmer-entrepreneurs.
“We would not have reached this far if it weren’t for the agencies that supported us. They were the ones who encouraged us to work for a better life,” Kalasag Chairman Arnold Dizon said in Filipino.
As the pioneer group for FEP, Kalasag’s success shows that, with the right support, smallholder farmers can become suppliers of big companies.
“What we are offering in Jollibee Group Foundation is a model that could work and that could be an example for others. Work with us. Work with the farmers and this could become a big development in the agricultural sector,” said Ysmael Baysa, Chief Financial Officer of the Jollibee Group.

Jollibee Group FoodAID: Sharing Joy with Thousands of Filipinos One Meal at a Time

Okay lang ako, basta yung mga anak ko may makain.” This heartbreaking statement echoed across the country as families lost sources of livelihood and struggled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The multiple lockdowns have put countless families at risk of extreme hunger.

Recognizing the impending hunger crisis at the onset of community lockdowns, the Jollibee Group and Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) immediately activated its FoodAID Program to provide much needed meals for medical frontliners and families in need.

“Fortunately, we already have systems in place and a strong network of partner organizations, so we were ready to heed the calls for assistance from affected communities,” shared LA Cruzat, JGF Senior Program Manager.

Since March last year, when the lockdown was first imposed, FoodAID has already distributed more than 7.7M meals worth more than P345 million.

Levering On Our Resources

To serve communities, JGF partnered with over 80 community-based organizations and distributed meals including ready-to-cook Chicken Guisado packs developed by Jollibee’s Research and Development Team.

“The project meant a lot to us and our communities,” related Yvette Berganio of Ako Bakwit. “More than giving food, the project offered hope to communities as it provided help when it was needed the most,” she added. Yvette related stories like that of Stephanie from Caloocan City who contracted the virus along with her family, and the FoodAID Chicken Guisado was the only relief support that they received.

Maximizing Partnerships

JGF also supported karinderyas since their embeddedness in communities and proximity to families, made them strategic mechanisms to make meals easily accessible. Through an initiative called Project Karinderya, which was implemented by KASAGANA-KA Development Center, Inc. and Kabuhayan sa Ganap na Kasarinlan Credit and Savings Cooperative, JGF together with donors provided funds for meal subsidies and trained karinderya owners on food safety.

During the project, 100% of the participating karinderya owners were able to recover their income while making meals readily available for beneficiary families. Marissa Detoito from Lagro, Quezon City was among those who participated. Marissa said, “Project Karinderya was a big help to because more customers have enjoyed our food, thus adding more to our income.”

As a result, 320 karinderya owners recovered their livelihood while serving 6,400 families or approximately 32,000 individuals with meals for 30 days.

The Mission Continues

Through FoodAID, partners and volunteers became part of finding solutions to an immense and unprecedented challenge, embodying the true spirit of bayanihan and the values of cooperation that have always guided JGF.

“As we abide by the Jollibee Group’s mission to share the joy of eating to everyone, we have seen time and again that this can only be achieved when organizations and individuals come together – there’s just much more joy to share when others also take part in this mission,” concludes LA.

Back in Business: A Karinderya Owner's Success Story

When the pandemic happened, karinderya owner Myrna Taran of Caloocan City became the main provider for her family as her husband lost his job. Together, they persevered in selling food, but less customers are willing to buy. “Marami rin pong nawalan ng trabaho kaya hirap silang makabili (Many also lost their jobs, so they find it hard to buy),” Myrna said.

Myrna became part of the Project Karinderya initiated by Kabuhayan sa Ganap na Kasarinlan Credit and Savings Cooperative and KASAGANA-KA Development Center, Inc. and supported by Jollibee Group Foundation. “Binigyan kami ng pagkakataon dito (This project was an opportunity for us),” she shared. In this video, find out how her business became more stable, and what being part of the project and serving others mean to her. 

Project Karinderya: Empowering Micro-Enterprises, Nourishing Communities

Jessie Seno, a karinderya owner in Quezon City, is one of the micro-entrepreneurs who was able to revive his livelihood through Project Karinderya. Learn more about his experience in the project through this video.

Project Karinderya was organized to help provide access to safe food to affected communities and sustain livelihood of small entrepreneurs most affected by COVID-19. Civil society and private sector organizations banded together to make food immediately available to an increasing number of families who suffer hunger due to the effects of the lockdown, while helping food micro-enterprises or karinderyas to survive and recover their source of income.

AKAP Pamilya Inspires Compassion With Every Meal Served

Abot Kamay Alang-alang sa Pagbabago (AKAP) Pamilya is an institutional and community-based support program in the Diocese of Novaliches for orphan families. Since the pandemic, volunteer lay coordinator Milet Mendoza (an independent humanitarian and social development worker) says AKAP Pamilya has had to expand its outreach to other urban poor communities severely affected by the COVID19 lockdown. With the help of at least 20 parishes, it ensures food provision to more vulnerable sectors. ​
The partnership with AKAP Pamilya has been more active not only because of its efficiency in distributing relief, but also because of the unwavering dedication of volunteers despite the risks to themselves. Strict protocols are strictly adhered to in the conduct of humanitarian outreach. Jollibee Group Foundation has partnered with AKAP Pamilya since the onset of the pandemic in March. Recently, they have received more than 7,000 Chicken Guisado food packs from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the DEG (German Investment Corporation). ​
Salamat sa (thank you) JGF and DEG support. We keep the faith that we will come out of this sad situation with a stronger spirit knowing that we are not alone,” said Milet.​

PCUP: Reaching Out to Urban Poor Communities

The Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) has been assisting many communities during the pandemic, many of whom are informal workers who lost their source of income. Jollibee Group Foundation and Singapore-based Temasek Foundation have teamed up with organizations such as PCUP to bring sautéed chicken packs to vulnerable families, as a first step to help them get back on their feet soon.

“Every time we distribute (food), I feel happy because we become instruments in providing this basic need,” said Merlyn Lopez-Sunga, Development Management Officer II, PCUP Field Operations Division-NCR. “I learned that most of the families have not received any food relief yet. As soon as the truck with our food packs opened, I saw their faces lit up with excitement. They were very grateful and even sent us photos of how they cooked it with the vegetables.” 

Farmer Entrepreneurship Program Helps Farmer Suppliers Sustain Livelihood During Pandemic

Farmers like Gregorio Quintela have had to cope with limited access to input supplies and buyers for their produce during the height of COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, he continued to tend his farm and deliver vegetables to local markets like Pangasinan Agri-Pinoy Trading Center and an institutional buyer, Jollibee Group.

Jollibee Group 
continues to purchase vegetables from smallholder farmers and with the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP), helps farmer groups adapt to the current situation through capacity-building.

“Bilang FEP farmers, natuto kami kung paano magkaisa at magtulungan para makabuo ng cluster group, mag-consolidate para sa aming production volume, mag-sort ng harvest para sa quality assurance, at gumawa ng cost recording para sa maayos naming pagnenegosyo (As an FEP farmer, we learned how to work together to form a cluster group, consolidate our crops to meet production volume, sort our harvest for quality assurance, and keep a record of our costs to improve our business),” he said.

Learn about the experience of Gregorio and the Alcala Onion Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative here.

Sagay City: Leaving No One Behind

Since March, the city government of Sagay, Negros Occidental has been hard at work not only in keeping its citizens safe and its frontliners well-nourished—it also continues to care for the members of its community, most especially persons under monitoring for COVID-19, children, and pregnant and lactating mothers. Support from the Jollibee Group FoodAID as made its community feeding programs even more sustainable.

Donations of siomai, marinated pork, and bangus sisig are complimented with soup, vegetables like malunggay, pechay, cabbage or carrots, and fresh milk. In a day, more than 1,700 meals are cooked and distributed across its 25 barangays, come rain or shine. ​

"We are inspired that Jollibee Foods Corporation and Jollibee Group Foundation remain a steadfast partner of Sagay City in our social services endeavor. For all your support, madamo guid nga salamat," said Mayor Alfredo Maranon III.​

Photos courtesy of: Sagay LGU

Jollibee Group Continues Food Donations to Frontliners

The Jollibee Group continues to support frontline health workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by donating meals from its brands to about 300 hospitals around the country in August 2020. Health care workers have received food packs from Jollibee, Greenwich, Chowking, Red Ribbon, and Mang Inasal. 

“The Jollibee Group recognizes that our medical frontliners have made tremendous sacrifice in the past months. The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic gets tougher as days go by. Providing them meals to enjoy is a way to refresh their tired bodies and refuel their heroic efforts. We are more than grateful for what they are doing for our countrymen,” said Jollibee Group Foundation Executive Director Gisela Tiongson.

Click here to know more.

Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid

By organizing the 4Ps beneficiaries nationwide, Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid (SNPP) provides a voice to the poorest of the poor. At the pandemic’s onset, SNPP had to respond to the urgent need of their most vulnerable members: “‘Yung mga walang-wala dahil isang kahig, isang tuka,” says president Jai Catacio. With the officers’ pooled money, they bought two packs of noodles and a can of sardines per family.

SNPP has since scaled up relief efforts to efficiently distribute food packs to more families. Thanks to donors like Jollibee Group, members have received valuable, unexpected help in these trying times. “Hindi akalaing matutugunan ang tawag ng tiyan,” says Jai.

Photos courtesy of: SNPP

SOS Children’s Villages Philippines: Sharing Joy

SOS Children's Villages Philippines operates eight villages consisting of houses for abandoned and orphaned children. Each house is set up like a family, with six to eight children enjoying the love, care and guidance of a nanay.

Like typical households, SOS houses have also been greatly affected by the pandemic. Donors are more prudent and want to revisit priorities, shared Raymond Rimando, Director of the Manila Village.

Despite the challenges, what hasn’t changed? The residents’ infectious joy, Raymond said. Kids find ways to entertain themselves, and nanays are willing to make financial adjustments. “Nahihirapang maghigpit ng sinturon pero lagi pa ring napakasaya.”

For Raymond, this resilience reassures that SOS will endure.

Dana Foundation: From Farmers to Frontliners

In Davao del Norte, Dana Foundation’s Food Ration Project feeds healthcare workers at the Davao Regional Medical Center, a designated COVID-19 facility, and checkpoint personnel.

With donations, ingredients are bought from Jollibee Group Foundation's Farmer Entrepreneurship Program (FEP) farmers who lost their income when restaurants closed. Parents cook the meals in a Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) Kitchen at Cambanogoy Elementary School. The LGU’s staff then take the meals to the frontliners.

It's a chain reaction of kindness and generosity. “We are all affected, but we must all help when there’s an opportunity to do so,” says Dana Foundation Executive Director Nelben Moreno.

Click here to know more.

Photo courtesy of: Dana Foundation

Ahon sa Hirap, Inc.: Helping Families Become Resilient

Through micro-loans, Ahon sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI) empowers nanays to become financially independent. “Seventy percent of our 85,000 members own sari-sari stores and other informal businesses,” said ASHI President Mercedes Abad. With their livelihood wiped out by the pandemic, members have had to depend on ASHI to keep their households afloat.​

From delivering Jollibee Group FoodAID food packs to expanding support services, ASHI has become their members’ safety net. Collection of dues is suspended. Members have access to savings, emergency loan, microinsurance benefits, and support for getting government assistance. ​

“It’s our social commitment. Now that our members need us the most, we won’t leave them behind,” Mercedes said.​ 

Photo courtesy of: ASHI

Pakainin ang Buong Barangay

Pakainin ang Buong Barangay (PABB) started inside Gary Ramirez’ home. With the help of a friend and their families, PABB has literally been feeding entire barangays since ECQ started.

“It’s every citizen’s obligation to find ways to help others in times of crisis,” said Gary. For PABB and the people behind it, helping meant bringing food donors and beneficiaries together, in collaboration with LGUs.

This is how thousands of Chickenjoy, Burgersteak, and Yumburger meals have found their way to households in in Metro Manila, and even in neighboring provinces like Laguna and Bulacan. Asked what keeps them going, Gary Ramirez, co-founder of Pakainin ang Buong Barangay, says it’s the smile of the children. “For some of them, it’s their first Chickenjoy.”

Photo courtesy of: Office of the City Mayor, City Government of Santa Rosa, Laguna

BLT Kitchen Sipalay Feeds Frontliners and Families

Every day at 4 a.m., volunteer parents and teachers converge at the Busog, Lusog, Talino (BLT) Kitchen in Agripino Alvarez Elementary School, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental. They clock out at 5 or 6 p.m., after serving hundreds of breakfast, lunch and dinner packs.​

The Sipalay BLT Kitchen used to serve lunch to undernourished schoolchildren through the BLT School Feeding Program of Jollibee Group Foundation, Department of Education, and City Government of Sipalay. But with school closed, it now nourishes frontliners and residents. “Mahirap maging frontliner kung gutom. May kitchen kami, bakit hindi namin gagamitin para makatulong?” said parent volunteer Ellen dela Cruz.​

Other volunteers have also come forward to pack and transport food. Asked what keeps them going, Ellen says it’s the pride that their own children feel, and the shared desire to see this crisis through.​

Photo courtesy of: Sipalay LGU​

First to Respond: Brig. Gen. Rodylyn Manzano

A Marines reservist for 20 years, Brig. Gen. Rodylyn Manzano takes the force’s “first to fight” motto to heart even in disaster response. When the need to mobilize frontliner support came up, she was also first in line.​

Her “new normal” day involves distributing relief goods, hygiene kits and PPEs to hospitals and communities, and looking for other ways to support frontliners. Since the ECQ, she has also tirelessly linked JGF with beneficiaries, making sure that food packs get to frontliners in hospitals and checkpoints.​

Brig. Gen. Rodylyn calls it “love for country.” While donors are willing to give, she will always be willing to be their bridge.​

Photo courtesy of: Brig. Gen. Rodylyn Manzano ​

Don Bosco Youth Center - Tondo: Nurturing Volunteerism

Don Bosco Youth Center - Tondo provides skills training for out-of-school youth to give them a chance to improve their lives. The students, some of whom are Jollibee Group Foundation scholars, come from 17 of Manila’s poorest barangays. ​

The center may have closed because of the ECQ but it hasn’t stopped serving families in the community. Along with student volunteers, they have been tirelessly bringing much-needed food packs from donors like Jollibee Group down to extremely poor families, many of whom derive income from informal work.​

Though difficult, there is something about distributing packs from house to house that gives them joy, said Diana Pangadlo of Don Bosco Tondo. “Sobra silang magpasalamat, kaya pasalamat din kami sa mga donors at may naihahatid kaming tulong.” 

Photo courtesy of: Don Bosco Youth Center - Tondo