2K kids get free meal from Zero Hunger

A total of 15 barangays, two charitable organizations, and a quarantine center— all in Bacolod City— have received 2,000 cooked meals from a public-private initiative that aims to fight hunger.

The cooked meals were turned over yesterday, January 25 to the City Government, through Mayor Evelio Leonardia, by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, who heads the Zero Hunger Task Force, and Marie Angeles, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities, the charity of choice of McDonald’s Philippines.

The beneficiaries were selected families of Barangays 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 35, Banago, Singcang-Airport, and Pahanoccoy, St. Mary’s Home for the Aged, Holy Infant Nursery Foundation, and a quarantine center of Bacolod.

A ceremonial turnover was held at the Bacolod City Government Center attended by city officials, and barangay captains of the beneficiary barangays.

Joining the turnover ceremony were Councilors Renecito Novero, Bartolome Orola, Ana Marie Palermo, and Lady Gles Pallen, City Administrator Em Ang, and Executive Assistant Butch Soliguen.

Leonardia said every meal is appreciated by its beneficiary. “To those who will receive the food packs, it will mean a lot to them,” he said.

The mayor said Bacolod is the first LGU-beneficiary in the Visayas, among the 25 local government units chosen to take part in the initiative, to receive the assistance.

Pallen, president of Liga ng mga Barangay, thanked Nograles, the Pilipinas Kontra Gutom, and McDonald’s for their generosity to Bacolod, particularly to the barangay-beneficiaries.

“Bacolod City is blessed with your generosity, especially in this time of uncertainties. We will be forever grateful for your support and love for Bacolod City,” Pallen said.

Nograles, for his part, underscored the collaboration between and among the national government, LGUs, and private sectors in the fight against hunger. “Similar to our fight against COVID-19, it should be the same with our fight against hunger,” he said.

The Cabinet secretary also highlighted more sustainable strategies to combat hunger. For example, he said, they should not only give food packs but also help the farmers and the fishermen.

Angeles said, “Everyday, more and more Filipino families suffer from malnutrition and hunger. Especially during this pandemic, daily wage earners have lost their jobs and have been struggling to provide food for their families.”

She quoted a recent Social Weather Station survey that said 7.6 million families are experiencing hunger in the past three months.

To help address the problem, the Zero Hunger Task Force, headed by Nograles, launched Pilipinas Kontra Gutom as a response to eradicate hunger, and ensure quality food to all Filipinos by 2030.

With the support from the private sector, like Metrobank, Coca-Cola, Dole, and San Miguel, a systemic and sustainable solution is being built to address this challenge.

The McDonald’s Kindness Kitchen is an initiative wherein cooked meals are served to communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, recent typhoons and disasters. It started in March last year, at the onset of the community lockdown, initially serving meals to frontliners, volunteer groups, and vulnerable communities.

The Kindness Kitchen has more than 50 corporate partners, and has served more than 400,000 meals in more than 1,100 barangays, hospitals, and quarantine centers.

Other attendees at the turnover ceremony in Bacolod were Atty. Raymond Dilag, commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), and Mayor Katrina Balladares of Kabasalan town in Zamboanga, who at the time, was attending the daily huddle of the Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for benchmarking purposes.

Also joining was Jomar Fleras, Executive Director of Rise Against Hunger Philippines.

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