MANILA, Philippines – During the Marawi siege, more than 7,000 babies were born to mothers forced to abandon their homes and live in evacuation shelters outside the city. Amidst the explosions in the distance, the mothers found it in themselves—through the smiles of their newborns—to remain hopeful, work through their despair, and attempt to create a sense of normalcy for their families.
Recently, McDonald’s and veteran journalist Atom Araullo visited an evacuation shelter in Marawi, where Atom conversed with evacuee mothers and listened to their everyday struggles—stories that echoed their hopes for their children. They shared how despite their pains, they drew inspiration from their “baby bakwits”, the collective term for the babies born and raised in the evacuation (bakwit in the vernacular) centers.
These mothers, along with thousands of evacuees living in the tents of Bakwit Village, Marawi, woke up to the gift of a McDonald’s breakfast, as the famous chain distributed free Longgadesal breakfast sandwiches in celebration of National Breakfast Day.
An advocate of new beginnings, McDonald’s also memorialized the story of the “baby bakwits” in an online video, as part of its tradition of featuring stories of hope and new beginnings.
National Breakfast Day, which was celebrated nationwide on March 19, is McDonald’s way of sharing the goodness of a McDonald’s breakfast to its customers. As part of its annual program, it also extends the celebration to various local communities.
The celebrations did not stop in Marawi, as a group of volunteers from McDonald’s also visited those displaced in Albay, Legazpi, following the eruption of Mt. Mayon, and gave thousands of free Longgadesal across five evacuation centers.
McDonald’s efforts not only brought new meaning to its annual tradition but also served as a reminder to the rest of us to reach out to our fellow Filipinos as well. – Rappler.com
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