In the time of the pandemic, how far can your P50 go?
The Miladay Foundation and the Healing Servants Foundation support the medical frontliners through ‘A-Meal-A-Day’ project, which provides a meal a day to frontliners in hospitals in Metro Manila and neighboring towns.

In the time of the pandemic, how far can your P50 go?

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. (The Philippine Star) - September 4, 2020 - 12:00am

Kindness is the silver lining of these uncertain times. When people are kind, it seems like half the battle against coronavirus is won.

The Dayrit siblings of Miladay Foundation tapped on the generosity of people when they launched A-Meal-A-Day project at the height of the lockdown. A-Meal-A-Day is an undertaking that provides a meal a day to medical frontliners in different hospitals in Metro Manila and neighboring towns.  It is done in collaboration with the Healing Servants Foundation headed by Fr. Gerard Deveza, a healing priest.

Michelle Dayrit-Soliven said the project began when her family members started observing their birthdays silently, in isolation, because of the enhanced community quarantine that took effect in Luzon in March.

“A birthday is a very special time, one to be grateful for because it was the day God brought us into this world. That is why we plan celebrations of thanksgiving. In March and April, we had birthdays of family members planned but due to the times, we were unable to do so since our lives were at risk. Instead, we decided to show love and gratitude to those who are risking their own lives to save ours. So we decided to send the frontliners at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) gifts of love in the form of delicious homecooked meals. These turned out to be the happiest and most meaningful birthday celebrations,” Michelle said.

Fr. Gerard said to feed one frontliner would only cost P50. Melo’s Banyan Kitchen and Gaspi’s Kitchen in Makati City help prepare most of the healthy, sumptuous food that are brought to different hospitals.

Word got around until other families and individuals also wanted to lend a helping hand. Friends started to be one with them in fighting the virus: with kindness. So thousands more frontliners were given a meal a day.

A-Meal-A-Day continues to be an avenue for many to extend help and love to the medical frontliners.

For P50 each meal, Melo’s Banyan Kitchen and Gaspi’s Kitchen in Makati prepare the packed food given to the frontliners.

Mishka’s A-Meal-A-Day birthday party

When former STAR writer Jerni May Camposano-Gomez and her husband Matthew Gomez learned about the feeding project, they volunteered to help. The second birthday of their daughter Mishka was coming up and they gave her a meaningful celebration with “a little project” that they organized for her. The couple invited their closest circle to be part of Project #MishkaTime2Help, which aimed to raise funds to be donated to the A-Meal-A-Day program.

Family and friends of Jerni and Matthew were quick to pitch in, and within two weeks, the Gomez family was able to raise an amount enough to feed 650 frontliners.

“This is way more than what we expected and aimed for,” said Matthew, an account manager in their family-owned accounting and business services firm. “We know everyone is trying to overcome a challenge, financial or otherwise, during this crisis. That made their generosity and kindness even more meaningful.”

According to the couple, they made travel plans to celebrate the second birthday of their daughter. Mishka, who loves Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the Disney crew, would have enjoyed a fun day or two at the “happiest place on Earth.” But then the pandemic happened, and all the family’s travel bookings for the year had to be rescheduled. The couple donated the money allotted for their trips to nonprofit organizations that help fight the pandemic. “It’s the least we can do. Others even put their lives on the line to curb the increase in COVID cases,” Matthew added.

“It’s easy to feel helpless during difficult times like this. That’s why it’s the most perfect time to help each other. There is always something we can do for our brothers and sisters,” said Jerni, a consultant and freelance content editor and writer. Though she herself lost some projects because of the global crisis, it did not stop her from extending a helping hand to others. “Amid this challenging time, any act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a huge difference. Whether it’s a monetary donation or just simply checking in on your neighbor, you may be extending a lifeline to someone in need.”

The couple says Mishka, in her young mind, may not have a full grasp yet of the concept of sharing, but it’s never too early to start teaching her about kindness and generosity.

“She may not remember being directly involved in her A-Meal-A-Day birthday fundraising, but the joy of telling her this story one day makes us excited for her to know the details. I’m sure she’ll be as happy as we were when we decided to do it.

Mishka Gomez had a meaningful celebration of her second birthday when her parents Matthew and Jerni Gomez participated in the A-Meal-A-Day project to feed 650 medical frontliners.

“Mishka is the most beautiful blessing we received from God. We continue to pray that we can be good stewards of this precious blessing,” Jerni added.

On her second birthday, through A-Meal-A-Day project, Mishka gifted the frontliners at Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, and Manila Doctors Hospital with sumptuous packed meals of fish puttanesca, chicken sisig, and pork kare-kare.

Generosity heals. Despite the uncertainty, one thing remains certain: kindness. Even the new normal can’t take away that old-fashioned kindness.

(If you wish to help, please call Fr. Gerard Deveza at 0917-5382033.)

(E-mail me at bumbaki@yahoo.com. I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed weekend.)

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