San Miguel Corporation (SMC) reported that its pandemic food relief drive that began in March last year continues to serve as a lifeline for struggling urban families.
In a statement, SMC said the program has yielded close to two million pieces of nutribun and pandesal breads throughout Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, while its feeding center in Tondo continues to provide food aid to over 200,000 families living in Manila’s poorest districts.
SMC president Ramon S. Ang said that while the company’s pandemic response efforts these past few months had shifted largely towards supporting the nationwide vaccination effort, the company has not stopped providing food support for the underprivileged who are most vulnerable to hunger.
“While vaccinating our employees and deploying medical personnel to various public vaccination sites became our focus these past couple of months, we never left our disadvantaged countrymen who are still struggling to cope with the pandemic,” he said.
Ang added that, Many of our employees continue to devote their time and effort to make sure San Miguel can at least help the poorest of the poor avoid hunger on a daily basis.” From March 2020 to date, SMC, through San Miguel Mills Inc., has distributed a total of 1.9 million pieces of nutribun and pandesal breads.
Of this, 1.55 million were energy-packed nutribuns, or SMC’s version of the calorie-dense bread first introduced in the 1970s to combat malnutrition among schoolchildren, as part of the government’s nutrition program.
Meanwhile, through its SMC Better World Tondo community center–which functions as a food bank and feeding center and is one of the company’s three Better World community facilities–the company served a total 168,180 meals and provided 74,099 grocery packages to some 211,253 families, since September 2019.
Developed by SMC’s Flour Research and Development team at the height of the pandemic for distribution to poor communities, the reformulated nutribun is high in dietary fiber and a good source of iron and iodine.
SMC produces the bread at its food production facilities in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and Pasig City solely for distribution to communities hit hard by the pandemic and that have yet to recover from the crisis.
Since September last year, the company has been distributing a total of 8,000 nutribuns every week to the poorest communities of Malolos, Tondo, Payatas, and Caloocan City through its network of Petron stations in these areas.
“With the help of local government units, the Diocese of Malolos, Gawad Kalinga, and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and other partners, we’ve managed to distribute breads where they are most needed, to ensure that the poorest of our countrymen don’t go hungry during these difficult times,” Ang said.
He added that, “We thank our partners for continuing to support us in our various pandemic response activities. It is important that we work together and help each other, continue to observe health protocols, and get vaccinated when our turn comes to win over this pandemic.”
More than half a billion pesos of SMC’s total P14 billion pandemic response package has gone towards food donations consisting of rice, canned goods, fresh meat and poultry, coffee, breads, and flour.
In April this year, a fresh round of food donations benefited some 184,000 poor families in and around Metro Manila, following the imposition of heightened quarantine restrictions.
Food donations were sent through local government units in Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Las Pinas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Paranaque, Pasay, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela and Pateros, as well as cities in the neighboring provinces of Cavite and Laguna.