By James A. Loyola
The Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) partnered with Dana Foundation, Inc. on a project called Food Ration Drive to support Davao farmers experiencing difficulty in finding enough buyers for their produce due to lockdowns amid the pandemic.
Under this initiative, Dana Foundation buys vegetables from smallholder farmers who are part of JGF’s Farmer’s Entrepreneurship Program (FEP).
These vegetables are cooked into meals, which are then distributed to frontline health workers and checkpoint personnel in Davao.
Jollibee’s founders – the Tony Tan Caktiong family – used to live in Davao before returning to try their luck in Manila where they struck gold in the fastfood business.
Parents who were trained under JGF’s Busog-Lusog-Talino (BLT) Kitchen Programs were tapped to cook the meals at the BLT Kitchen in Cambanogoy Elementary School in Davao del Norte.
Through this joint initiative with JGF, the Dana Foundation has supported 35 farmers and have distributed 3,250 meals and 250 bags of assorted vegetables to check¬point personnel and to frontline medical workers stationed at the Davao Regional Medical Center, one of the two designated medical institutions to treat COVID-19 patients in the region.
“We are glad to see that the BLT facilities, trainings to parents and farmers, and networks we have established in these communities are being put to good use especially during this time of need,” said JGF Executive Director Gisela Tiongson.
Dana Foundation Executive Director Nelben Moreno said, “We counted ourselves lucky to already have partnerships in place with the Jollibee Group through the Busog-Lusog-Talino (BLT) Kitchen and Farmer’s Entrepreneurship Program (FEP). But they have exceeded our expectations by extending their support to us and our community-partners through their FoodAid Program.”
The Dana Foundation has served as the local implement¬ing arm of JGF in Davao for BLT and FEP since 2013. This entails, among others, fund management, facilitation of local trainings, and nomination of farmer beneficiaries.
JGF’s BLT Program was created to support the Department of Education’s School-Based Feeding Program. BLT School Feeding Kitchens centralize the preparation of meals that are distributed to surrounding schools, feeding hundreds of pupils per kitchen with less time and effort.
Meanwhile, FEP seeks to help smallholder farmers become agro-entrepreneurs through a combination of technical and leadership trainings. JGF also links farmer-beneficiaries to corporate buyers, including the brands under the Jollibee Group.