With relief goods running out, Cebuano youth group helps raise funds and aid
CEBU, Philippines – When the lockdown made it difficult for families to access local markets and maintain daily livelihood, a youth group came up with ways to provide relief goods to those heavily affected by the pandemic in a town in Cebu.
Composed of more than 25 young students and professionals, Batan-on alang sa Kalambuan sa Cordova or BaKa-C has made it their mission to help locals in the municipality of Cordova.
The group first began in 2017 by founders Charelyn Jumao-as and Maria Fe Tiro following the postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections to 2018. “I saw the need to gather them (youth) and it made me even inspired upon knowing how these people had the same passion as mine – to provide true leadership and selfless service,” said Jumao-as.
Since the conception of BaKa-C, they have conducted multiple coastal clean-ups, fun runs, feeding programs and sports competitions for the youth to not only invite them into the org but to also train socially aware leaders who would help achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Eager to help locals
When the coronavirus outbreak reached Cebu, BaKa-C sought ways to involve the youth in efforts to help locals.
Resident fishermen were not allowed to go out and catch fish while farmers from the barangay had to stay at home, preventing them from bringing their harvest to local markets.
Most of the residents were caught unprepared by the lockdown and needed immediate aid from the government to help feed their families.
To help them, BaKa-C and the local Sangguniang Kabataan partnered to supplement goods and provide manpower for the distribution, along with local government units.
Both groups also helped gather makeshift masks and bottles of alcohol for frontliners in the municipality.
Despite efforts from the local government to distribute these relief goods, SK councilor Kenneth Espra said these did not reach all of Catarman’s residents. Relief goods for distribution often ran out, leaving some residents who lined up to leave empty-handed. Several families in the barangay ended up having to ask rice from their neighbors instead. (READ: [ANALYSIS] May pera nga ba? Does Duterte have money to fight COVID-19?)
Taking the lead
Aaron Bruce Clarin, incumbent president and project director of BaKa-C, decided to initiate a donation drive with members of the youth group to support the affected families.
By May 6, Baka-C had set up the “Save A Family” donation drive to gather funds to buy relief goods for Barangay Catarman residents.
Through donations from teachers, close friends and concerned relatives, BaKa-C was able to raise P14,750 in two weeks.
On May 20, they started buying basic goods and prepared them in meal packages containing canned goods, milk and biscuits.
The next day, they were able to distribute the meal packages to the residents of Barangay Catarman. Helping them out were barangay officials and SK officers who gathered all the families in the purok center and listed their names, all while following physical distancing.
Thanks to the donation drive, 80 families in the barangay got meal packages and snacks for their children. (READ: As donor fatigue hits volunteers amid prolonged lockdown, they keep going)
They were also treated to more good news when they were told that lockdown would be lifted. All test results from the contact-tracing done in the barangay were negative for the coronavirus.
While donations have ceased now that the Cebu province is under general community quarantine, Clarin said they’re planning to continue the drive by helping other communities in Cordova since people are still sending queries about how to donate.
“I'm so proud to say that I am with the most passionate youth in the municipality because of their selfless service for our Cordovanhons. Through our initiatives, we are able to give back to our community. It is one of our steps intended to help and support the most affected families in Cordova,” Clarin added.
BaKa-C isn't currently accepting applicants who are interested to join the group. However, people may visit their official Facebook page for updates and possible opportunities to help Cordovanhons. – Rappler.com