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Stories of Hope

Don Bosco TVET Center-Tondo: Nurturing Volunteerism

Don Bosco TVET 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 JGF 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 JGF 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. “Sobra silang magpasalamat, kaya pasalamat din kami sa mga donors at may naihahatid kaming tulong.”

First to Respond: Brig. Gen. Rodilyn Manzano

A Marines reservist for 20 years, Brig. Gen. Rodilyn 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.

Manzano’s “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, Manzano has also tirelessly linked JGF with beneficiaries, making sure that food packs get to frontliners in hospitals and checkpoints.

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

Sipalay School’s Kitchen Feeds Frontliners

Every day at 4 a.m., volunteer parents and teachers converge at the BLT Kitchen at 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 kitchen used to feed undernourished schoolchildren. 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, dela Cruz says it’s the pride that their own children feel, and the shared desire to see this crisis through.

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 credit: Office of the City Mayor, City Government of Santa Rosa, Laguna

Tag: Pakainin ang Buong Barangay

Ahon sa Hirap Inc

Through micro-loans, Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. (ASHI) empower nanays to become financially independent. “Seventy percent of our 85,000 members own sari-sari stores and other informal businesses,” said member-volunteer 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 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 credit: Ahon sa Hirap, Inc.

Tag: Ahon sa Hirap Inc – ASHI