To help lessen the problem of hunger, malnutrition, and food waste, Food Rescue ASEAN, one of the projects that won in the Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Seeds for the Future Grants is brought to Dumaguete City.
Initiated by Mac Florendo, YSEALI member and a senior mass communication student in Silliman University, Food Rescue ASEAN started operating last September 2015 in Dumaguete City. His project won in YSEALI Seeds, a competition for young leaders from Southeast Asian nations that gives funds to carry out projects that improve their communities and countries.
The project ‘rescues’ food, especially excess food in the market, and distribute it to homeless and low-income individuals. If the food is cooked, project volunteers give it to the poor on the streets.
Volunteers also use zero-emission vehicles such as bicycles, long boards, skates, among others. In this way, environmental protection will be promoted.
Food Rescue ASEAN in Dumaguete partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Poblacion 8 Barangay Officials. Florendo also partnered with Silliman Extension Program and Service Learning to map out the poorest communities in the city.
Juditha Kilap-kilap, 49, a resident of Barangay Poblacion 8, is one of the recipients of Food Rescue ASEAN.
“Nalipay ko nga naka-utan ug hinatag,” said Kilap-kilap. (I’m glad I was able to cook vegetables that were given for free.)
She added that the vegetables they receive is a good help for them to practice a healthy lifestyle.
Meanwhile, Gloria Paalaman, a vegetable vendor who donates excess vegetables, said that it is better to give the vegetables to the people who need it rather than throw it away.
“Mas malipay ko nga makapakaon ko ug tawo,” said Paalaman, vegetable vendor. (I am happier that I am able to feed someone.)
In the latest Social Weather Survey conducted last September 2015, 15.7 percent or 3.5 million families considered themselves experiencing involuntary hunger in the Philippines.
“Knowing that there are…poor families and individuals in the community and food wasted every day, I told myself that [Food Rescue ASEAN] is really something that Dumaguete would need, same for the rest of the Philippines and ASEAN,” said Florendo.
Poblacion 8 Barangay Captain Delia Siñagan said, “Makatabang siya sa mga tawo ba, especially dili lang nila kailangan paliton,” (It helps the people especially because they do not need to buy the food anymore).
Food Rescue ASEAN is being established in Dumaguete City for the Philippines and Kuala Lumpur for Malaysia.
by Paulynne Joyce R. dela Cruz