What’s on your dinner table? What’s for lunch? Usual questions between neighbors, wives, and family members. But not all families in the Philippines can offer a cheery answer over dishes of instant noodles or sardines. The only things certain on the table are unemployment, hunger, and hardships during the community lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeing the big picture, SPECS Foundation Inc., led by Executive Director Teresa Rivera Coman, immediately saw the disparity between socioeconomic statuses where the impoverished is on the losing end. Amid all these pandemic circumstances, the SPECS Foundation – Puso Initiative saw light. Serving to set in motion the cogwheels of a circular economy, they decided to help the families in some cities in Metro Manila and the farmers in Cordillera whose vegetables cannot be sold because of the imposed lockdown. With the produce sourced from Cordillera, SPECS Foundation – Puso Initiative started with giving vegetable packs to serving meals. With the resources that they have, in a little less than 3 months (April 2 to June 30), they have purchased more than 40 metric tons of vegetables.
Because this initiative was birthed in optimism and determination, so far, they have now provided 65,131 healthy meals to 17 communities around Metro Manila using donations, cash and in-kind, from friends, individuals, and organizations from both the Philippines and abroad. At the minimum, the SPECS COVID-19 relief response has served 42,157 individuals all over Pasay, Paranaque, Cavite, and even Rizal.
Not realized by many, the table offers healing not just for ravenous stomachs but also for the soul. Now, these families can enjoy healthy and nutritious food. There’s also something new on their dinner table: hope and dignity. And that’s what the SPECS Foundation – Puso Initiative has been setting their sights on.