A FOOD RESCUE project initiated by Silliman University mass communication alumnus, Mac Edsel Florendo, was recognized as one of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) in the Health, Nutrition and Well-Being Category.
Florendo’s project “Food Rescue ASEAN” aims to reduce food waste by collecting unspoiled food from markets, households, and business establishments.
“This project seeks to lessen the people who are hungry. Every day [people] waste food, so when we can, we rescue food daily as well,” Florendo said.
Florendo, together with around 68 volunteers, collect fruits and vegetables supposed to be thrown away by stalls and deliver them to poor, homeless, and low-income families in Dumaguete and in the province of Negros Oriental.
“‘Kumain ka na?’ is a common greeting in the Philippines. What if you asked that to all Pinoys in the world? We should realize that there is a lot of food wasted every day. Why not rescue all these food and share them to people who would need it the most?” Florendo said.
Florendo added that they usually deliver 20-30 kilos of food to 60-100 people daily.
Moreover, Florendo clarified that Food Rescue ASEAN is not a feeding program.
“Our primary purpose is to rescue food from being wasted. Feeding people is just a fruit of that purpose,” Florendo said.
According to Florendo, Food Rescue ASEAN drew inspiration from Boulder Food Rescue, a US-based organization helping to reduce food waste since 2011.
“It all started when I met Hana Dansky of Boulder Food Rescue in 2015. Boulder Food Rescue collects excess but perfectly edible food mainly fruits and veggies and redistribute to people in need just by riding bikes,” Florendo said.
Meanwhile, Food Rescue ASEAN targets to resolve food wastage not only in Dumaguete City, but also in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Currently, I also have partners in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who are doing Food Rescue Malaysia. I met these people during the YSEALI program. We hope that all ASEAN member-countries will do the same,” Florendo stressed.
Food Rescue ASEAN, together with Guguinto Scholars Association, Go2Virtualahan, Team Dugong Bughaw, HiGi Energy, IngatKapandayan Artist Center, Modern Nanays of Mindanao, UP Industrial Engineering Council, Youth for a Livable Cebu, and Voice of Chameleon’s Children, received TAYO Awards out of the 443 entries across the country.
The national judging was held with Aiza Seguerra, National Youth Commission Chairperson last Feb. 13 at the Philippine Senate. Winners were announced last Feb. 16 at the Diamond Hotel Ballroom, Manila.
Florendo’s project proposal also won the Youth Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) “Seeds for the Future.”
*With notes from su.edu.ph and inquirer.