World Vision Development Foundation (WVDF) recently provides 16,800 kilos of vegetables to the residents of Quezon City, Malabon City, Manila City and Cagayan de Oro City, four of the hard-hit cities under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In collaboration with Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), the child-focused organization packed and distributed fresh vegetable packs containing okra, sayote, cabbage scorpio, wombok, potatoes, squash, eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, bitter gourd, string beans, carrots and chili pepper to 5,750 households and 60 frontliners in Quezon City, Malabon City, Manila City and Cagayan de Oro City.
PSFI’s Ani Para sa Bayani (translated Harvest for Heroes) project aims to help struggling small farmers sell their produce and to also ensure that frontliners and the vulnerable communities have access to nutritious foods.
“Nutrients in vegetables could help strengthen our body’s immune system to fight diseases including COVID-19. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables,” shared Carleneth San Valentin, World Vision’s technical manager for health.
San Valentin explains that while we continue to implement interventions on COVID-19, programmes that address undernutrition and malnutrition especially among children under-5 years old in the country, whether nutrition specific or nutrition sensitive, need to continue.
Nanay Nerissa, a mother of two from Malabon City shares that since the implementation of the extended community quarantine, his husband is not able to drive his pedicab and even get extra work and earn a living because they cannot go out. She adds “Umaasa kami ngayon sa paminsang minsang kita dito sa ulingan. Mahirap din para sa dalawang anak ko na bata pa, 10 at five years old dahil kung walang kita, sa relief lang kami umaasa.”
Her 10-year old son Ric, who is a World Vision sponsored child says he misses going to school but since classes are suspended, he sometimes helps his mother repack charcoal aside from cooking rice and cleaning the house.
PSFI Executive Director Sebastian Quiniones Jr. says, “This pandemic is allowing all to show the best of humanity, especially during this season of Lent where we are commanded to love one another. We at PSFI have always believed in the power of unity and collaboration, and this successful partnership with World Vision and Filipino farmers has manifested that.” While the collaboration begins by supporting farmers in Luzon and assisting vulnerable communities in Metro Manila and Cagayan de Oro City, the organizations hope to extend their collaboration to other areas in need of assistance.
“Thanks to Pilipinas Shell Foundation for partnering with us in sending much needed help to families especially their children affected by COVID-19. We pray that God will continue to bless you even more as you generously give back to our communities,” World Vision national director Rommel V. Fuerte said.
As of today, World Vision has provided 458 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits catering to 2,140 frontliners. It also helped install nine (13) tents to be used as isolation and triage areas for COVID-19 referral hospitals in Metro Manila, Misaims Oriental, Pangsinan and Bicol Region and two (2) huge mobile storage units each with an area of 320 sq meters for the Quezon City Risk Reduction and Management Council and Office of the Civil Defence. At least 2,000 families have also received sanitation kits that include bath soaps, alcohol, toothbrushes for children and adults, toothpaste, face mask and mouthwash. World Vision has also reached over 1.4 million people nationwide on awareness raising on COVID-19 including infection prevention and control (IPC) measures.
In a recent advisory, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) gave the go signal to local governments to use a portion of their development fund to address the threat of the pandemic, which includes the provision of food assistance and relief goods for affected households.
Meanwhile to slow down the spread of COVID-19, the Philippine government has extended the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to May 15, 2020.