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Stories from the Field

Community Program Feeds 3,500 People Daily in the Philippines

By Hannah Payne on April 25, 2024

With almost 45% of the Philippines’ population facing food insecurity, addressing the nutritional needs of affected communities is crucial. That’s why we work with our international office Rise Against Hunger Philippines and in-country impact partners, International Care Ministries and Convoy of Hope, to provide urgent meals for people facing hunger and extend beyond the meal to support real, long-term food security. 

We collectively serve more than 1.73 million people in the Philippines annually through various programs — including one of the country’s longest-running community feeding programs.  

In Calauan, Philippines, the Don Bosco Center operated by Salesian Missions serves hot meals to 3,500 people daily. Rise Against Hunger Philippines has supported this program for years, not only providing the meals but also building the center’s kitchen. The kitchen now enables 18 volunteer cooks to prepare and serve the meals during two distribution periods each day. 

Rise Against Hunger Philippines meals are served to people of all ages in the community, enabling them to take home food to their families. Of the 3,500 daily recipients, a large percentage are internally displaced people. Many were relocated to the region through the government but faced challenges finding work and, therefore, face food insecurity. Charlotte, Ricardo and John are three of the participants. 

Charlotte Grace Tundayag, mother and program participant

28-year-old Charlotte is a mother of three children ranging in age from two to 10 years old. She operates a store and her husband works in Manila, but they sometimes cannot earn enough to address all of their family’s needs. The community feeding program helps alleviate these income gaps by ensuring they have food to feed their family and enables them to allocate money they would have spent on food to other needs. She says, “The feeding program is important because, because of it, we don’t consume too much of our income, because of the breakfast and lunch that the feeding program is giving us.”  

In addition to alleviating their financial challenges, Charlotte’s children have gained weight and are less frequently sick since they began participating in the program. She is happy to see this, as it supports her hopes for their bright futures. “All I hope for my children is to graduate and to be healthy.”

Ricardo Capistrano, father and program participant

A father of four children, Ricardo used to be employed but then became unable to do his job. He began participating in the community feeding program, with the meals supporting him during financial challenges while he’s unable to work. He now says, “I get my food from the program for more than four years.” He has noticed that the meals have supported his health, noting that he feels good after eating the food he receives from the program.

John, 9-year-old program participant

From a family of seven, John and his four siblings receive nutritious meals at the Don Bosco Center. He’s participated in the feeding program for four years and says, “The food is delicious and satisfying.”

At age nine, John is in kindergarten after starting school late due to health issues. But the meals now support his health. “I am energized. I’m getting stronger.” He is able to continue attending school and working toward his dream of becoming a policeman when he grows up. 

In addition to operating the feeding program, the Don Bosco Center has a large garden. Three farmers harvest vegetables like eggplant and bottle gourds to sell at local markets. They also sell the crops to the program at a reduced price. This not only supports long-term food security solutions as the farmers generate income to support their families, but it also nourishes the entire community as the produce is added to the program’s meals. 

Watch the video below to hear firsthand from Charlotte, Ricardo and John and learn more about how this feeding program supports the health and nutrition of this community. 

The work to end hunger starts with a meal, and it starts with you! Your support leads to improved health, nutrition and brighter futures for communities — like those in Calauan, Philippines — worldwide. Donate $10 or more today to make a difference and help end hunger across the globe!