FOOD is one of the immediate needs of victims after a manmade or natural disaster.
Donating food, however, can be a complicated matter. One of the things you have to think about is how will the food be cooked? How and where it will be stored? Then there is the background of the group of people you are giving to. These are just some of the questions that we have to answer when we donate food.
Like the thousands of evacuees of the Marawi conflict. A huge portion of the evacuees are Muslims and from the beginning of the giving of donations, the government and organizations have reminded the Filipinos to donate halal-certified items when it comes to food.
Homegrown brand Qualiproducts Inc., the distribution company affiliated to Ana's Breeders Farm Inc. (ABFI), a halal-certified poultry farm, thus developed the 911 Food, which are quality canned and pouched instant food acceptable to Muslims.
The canned food comes in three variances, adobo chicken rice, curry chicken rice, and afritada chicken rice. The 911 Foods is not available commercially.
Jonathan Suy, president of ABFI, said it was after typhoon Yolanda when the company thought of ways to help victims of crisis and calamities.
"We realized that sending uncooked rice to victims does not help them in their immediate need; instead we need to send them a meal that is ready to eat. Because of this, we started to develop rice meals in pouch and can so that no Filipino will go hungry especially in the face of calamities," Suy told SunStar Davao in an email.
He said they went for the concept of having a full meal in a can as it is a staple to us Filipinos to always have rice in our meals.
"We want to give every Filipino access to instant complete meals especially during calamities where cooking is not an option. We also want to comfort victims of calamities when they eat our ready to eat products as the home-cooked taste transports them to the days where they are sitting on the table with their family eating a decent meal," Suy said.
Aside from helping Filipinos in times of calamities or crisis, Suy also hoped to help farmers through this initiative.
Since June, ABFI has already donated 11,000 cans of 911 Foods to the evacuees of the Marawi crisis. Some 10,000 cans were donated through the Department of Agriculture while the other 1,000 cans were donated to an evacuation center in Cagayan de Oro City.
"Because of this, some of our suppliers joined us and ordered several thousands of cans to be endorsed to the Department of Agriculture for Marawi evacuees," Suy said.
With the help of friends from Christ Commission Fellowship (CCF), more cans of instant meals are set to be donated to Marawi evacuees.
"During the Marawi crisis, Jonathan called me to help him raise funds to produce the canned meals. Both Jonathan and I are members of the same church, CCF," said Raymond Dan, a discipleship leader in CCF.
Dan goes to CCF Main in Metro Manila while Suy goes to CCF Davao. Both were introduced to one another seven months ago.
Dan asked Jonathan to hand him some samples so he can show it to his discipleship group, which is held on a Wednesday, July 5, and led by CCF senior pastor Dr. Peter Tanchi.
"During our breakfast last July 5, we tasted the three meals: chicken adobo, chicken afritada, and chicken curry. The group of about 12 men agreed to contribute 50,000 cans. We requested Jonathan to include the words: 'Donated by CCF, Jesus loves you'," Dan said.
He said a week later, on July 12, they had a bible study at his home and shared his experience to raise funds for Marawi evacuees by funding 50,000 cans of complete meals.
The following day, one of the members attending the bible study, Josiah Go, posted on his Facebook page, his 911 Campaign for the canned instant meals as relief for the Marawi evacuees. The campaign seeks to raise an additional 50,000 cans.
“Raymond showed us a can of 911 Chicken Curry Rice and a light bulb turned on inside me. Imagine the compelling value proposition, a whole meal of rice with chicken, ready-to-eat, with a pull-up tab can, halal, three chicken flavors, low price of P20 and made in Davao where the manufacturer has been in chicken production business and canning this product as an advocacy project,” said Go, who is a bestselling author and Chairman and Chief Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc., in a post on his website (josiahgo.com).
Go added “the dots all connected and I realized my mission was to further reinforce what CCF started by voluntarily helping them raise funds for the next 50,000 cans.”
After posting on his Facebook page, Go began to receive queries and
pledges for the campaign. Within two days after posting, pledges were already at 35,000 cans. As of 9:30 a.m., Sunday, July 16, pledges were already at 64,458 cans.
"I have raised millions of funds for many causes, mostly higher amount of commitments but some pledges I got the last few days made me teary-eyed as I recall what was taught in Mark 12:44 when a poor widow gave everything she had to live on. The pledges were given by an entry-level new employee, a BPO worker, and an insurance agent breadwinner," he said.
Dan said, "Jonathan is now producing the 100,000 halal certified canned meals for handover in Davao City to Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio for distribution to the Marawi evacuees. It is scheduled for July 26, 2017."
With their desire to help those who are in need during calamities or crises, Suy and the company have developed quality canned instant meals that will definitely help those who are in need.
This canned instant meal from Davao City has also brought Filipinos throughout the country together to extend their assistance to their brothers and sisters in Marawi City.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 17, 2017.
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