Fil-Am youth leaders give pandemic care boxes to front-liners
INQUIRER.NET U.S. Bureau
August 4, 2020 at 10:29 am

FASGI volunteers delivering care packages to Filipino front-liners and essential workers. CONTRIBUTED

LOS ANGELESFilipino front-liners and essential workers in the Los Angeles area received a bit of the bayanihan spirit in the form of care packages from a corps of young Filipino American leaders.

The Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) provided financial support to the “BalikBAHAY” care package distribution project spearheaded by the Filipino American Service Group Inc. (FASGI) in Los Angeles on July 20-25, 2020.

Each BaikBAHAY Box consisted of essential items for front-line workers and vulnerable community members weathering the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, FYLPRO awarded FASGI $2,100 to help fund 150 boxes. The FASGI project is one of two programs FYLPRO supported through its COVID-19 relief fund.

“The ‘BalikBAHAY’ Box Project was developed because we were thinking of helping the people who are most vulnerable and who have been there in the front lines but not paid any attention to,” said FASGI Executive Director Yey Coronel.

“There are front-liners that were not given much attention to and they provide needed services for people. And so we decided to look for these people that were overlooked and we decided to work with people in the food industry, in the hospitality industry,” Coronel added.

More than 20 volunteers helped to assemble the boxes and deliver them to several Los Angeles area restaurants and bakeries including Big Boi and Titas of Manila.

“During a time when the world is full of uncertainty, FASGI brought Covid-19 care packages to my awesome staff. It meant a lot to them to be recognized that they are here daily to prepare the food that is made in mind with safety first, along with love and comfort,” said Big Boi Chef Barb Batiste. “Thank you FASGI for including B Sweet and Big Boi in bringing light to our community.”

The BalikBahay box contained items suggested by a dietician to promote health and boost immunity, such as fresh lemons and ginger, dried noodles, mung beans, dried fruits, canned sardines and tuna, vinegar, no-sugar oolong tea, guyabano juice, stress balls and mental brochures, masks, gloves, alcohol spray bottles, a FASGI-drafted brochure on improving immune health, and COVID-19 paper pamphlet developed by Dr. Melanie Sabado-Liwag and her students. (Sabado-Liwag is also collaborating with UCLA on a community-based survey study to understand the Filipino community impacts of COVID-19. Participate in the study here.)

“Thank you so much FYLPRO for supporting this work. It really means a lot, not only to me but to all the Los Angeles Filipino members here. Hopefully the work that’s being done here can help inspire other communities to do similar kinds of acts of kindness for their own community,” said Program Manager Dr. Antonio Moya (FYLPRO alum 2019).

WATCH: BalikBahay Project. YOUTUBE

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