I have a confession to make.
Last Monday, I didn’t have a plan to help Flood Victims.
We were flood victims ourselves. Water entered our home and damaged books and school records. My wife and our helpers were busy cleaning.
As I sat at my couch, reading text messages from friends who lost homes and loved ones, and reading the newspaper about the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced–I was paralyzed. What can I–a single person–do in the face of such a massive calamity?
But it was my wife who said, “We need to help. Where do we go?”
I didn’t answer her. I didn’t know what to say.
But that was when my friend, Sonia Lozada, called up. She said she already cooked and distributed 500 meals to flood victims in Marikina–and asked if I wanted to help. Her words woke me up. Yes, I said, I’ll join her.
Instantly, my paralysis was gone. I could do something! I stood up from my couch and began raising money for our massive feeding program. So far, we’ve given away thousands of meals and distributed a ton of relief goods in Marikina, Montalban, and Pateros.
So honestly, I’m feeling very small now.
Because I’m surrounded by huge heroes.
Check the photos below of our massive feeding program for Flood Victims.
Yes, I’m the guy in the yellow shirt, my arms crossed, doing nothing. Some people think I’m the Producer–the guy who spends and gives out the money. Ha. If they only knew. As you well know, the money didn’t come from me. You gave it to me, remember?
So what have I really done? Nothing much. Except perhaps get awed that I was standing amidst heroes. Which is why I’m showing you these photos.
Below is a photo of some of those heroes, packing meals. My friend Sonia Lozada, the large woman in the center (you can see her face only), is my big hero.
Sonia owns Trinity restaurants. Without her, our massive feeding program wouldn’t have happened. Trinity doesn’t only have great food, they’ve got great people. Her lovely children and her wonderful staff are the ones cooking, packing, and delivering the food.
Can you imagine how many large pots of adobo were cooked?
Sonia also invited her fellow restaurant owners to help–and they did. I met those generous people too. (I never knew how creative we Filipinos name our restaurants until now.) Here they are: Aling Tonyas, G-Squred, Yatai Ramen, Seazar, Dad & Mom’s, Superwok, Julies, Igmaan, Dulang, Kaymig, Claire de la Fuente, Marinold, Wok with Joe, Sharmila Sisdang, Stardish, Aling Masha… Thank you so much! And my friend Rex Robillos who owns Buns and Pizza donated 5000 bottles of mineral water. Thank you!
Here are photos of the people lining up to get food.
Check out the photo below. Do you see the happy smile on the woman’s face on the right? This woman lost everything–her house and all her material things–and she can still smile. Filipinos are just incredible.
On this night, we brought 3000 meals–but there were 6000 people in the relocation site. So people had to share with others. Just like you.
We also gave food in three sites in Pateros (see below), still underwater 5 days after the storm. It’s horrifying, but some Barangay officials predict floods may last for 6 months in their area. Pateros is the poorest municipality in Metro Manila. I learned that their annual budget is smaller than the annual budget of one exclusive subdivision in Makati.
Here are the people going home after they got the food from us, walking in blackish water. I couldn’t stand the smell, but they lived in it.
Here’s the crowd of people waiting for the food. I’m at the back just watching everybody, totally useless.
Another team was led by my friend Jodean Sola and other Light of Jesus members. They went to Montalban. Through your support, Jodean and his team gave blankets, clothes, candles, and food.
As you can see, their first need was drinking water. And that’s what Jodean gave them.
Here’s Jodean praying for the Flood Victims. More than food, they need to regain their hope in God.
This week, aside from distributing more relief goods, he’ll be back doing the difficult work of repairing their homes.
Through your generosity, we also gave funds to my friend Sigrid Aragona and the UP Mountaineers who went to Marikina (Nangka and Tumana), giving away a very precious bag to each hungry family. Each bag contained 1 kilo of rice, noodles, canned goods, biscuits, and a pouch of milk. They also bought medicines for those who needed them. Here are three young volunteers packing the relief goods. I guess when you give yourself selflessly to others, you have the right to wear those beautiful smiles.
My friend Chito Manaois and his Light of Jesus chapters in Bulacan were also feeding people in relocation sites for two straight days. Thank you my friends!
And I’m so sorry, I don’t have more photos to show you about all these other projects. So many nameless heroes! So many Light of Jesus members who just went around cleaning homes. They went around carrying rugs, mops, and pails–volunteering to clean flood-damaged homes. It was an incredible sight to see.
This week, aside from our existing teams, we’re creating new teams to do relief work. My friend Alvin Barcelona and our Light of Jesus team will be doing relief work in Marilao, Bulacan.
Hey, just to make it clear. I’m not the hero in this story.
My friends are.
Because of your love and support, we’re able to do the work that we do.
May your dreams come true,
PS. Yes, you can still donate to our Fund Drive for Flood Victims. You can click below. (Note: My paypal account was closed by paypal itself. They say I can’t accept donations. Sorry for that. But there are other ways you can send your donations below.)
PS2. If you want to donate goods of any kind, but can’t get out of your house, you can call up Sigrid and she’ll have her team pick them up from your home. (Metro Manila) Text Sigrid Aragona at 09228231022 now.