The Aboitiz Group, through its corporate social responsibility arm Aboitiz Foundation and the Group’s various business units, supports community pantry initiatives covering 22 barangays in several provinces through its ‘Accessible Bread for Communities’ campaign.
The campaign aims to assist community pantries by providing freshly baked breads daily for one month. Aboitiz Foundation, in partnership with the Aboitiz business units, started it in Tarlac, Cebu, Iligan, Davao, Zambales, and Taguig.
Aboitiz Foundation President and COO Maribeth L. Marasigan stressed the need for collective efforts and support for communities that are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. “In the spirit of modern-day Bayanihan and inspired by the Maginhawa Community Pantry initiative, we join everyone in this endeavour through ‘Accessible Bread for Communities.’ It’s a long road to recovery and we might be far from over—but through collective generosity, we can feed our fellow Filipinos and recover together as one community,” she said.
The campaign not only brings donations to the communities, but more importantly provides livelihood to many bakers in the barangays covered. A total of seven (7) bakeries were tapped by Aboitiz Foundation and Pilmico, the food unit of the Group. Together, the bakeries produced 27,000 bread packs for the project. This brought in much-needed income to their bakeries, especially given all the uncertainties caused by the pandemic.
Marlon Gecale of C&G Bakery, a partner bakery covering community pantries in Iligan City, thanked Pilmico and Aboitiz Foundation for the livelihood opportunity. “Talagang malaking naitulong ang partnership ng Pilmico dahil alam natin na mahirap kumita ng pera gawa ng pandemya. Nagpapasalamat talaga ako sa Pilmico na binigyan kami ng opportunity. Natutuwa ako na nakatulong ako sa aming mga kabarangay. Happy din ako sa mga comment nila tungkol sa tinapay, kaya kahit na gumising kami ng alas-dos ng umaga, worth it naman ang ginawa namin. (This partnership with Pilmico is a really big help to us, especially now that it is difficult to find income because of the pandemic. I am so thankful to Pilmico for giving us this opportunity. I also feel happy that I’m able to help others in our barangay. Their comments about our bread also make me really happy, so even though we wake up at two in the morning, everything we do is worth it.),” she said.
Meanwhile, Ghiner Cabanday, a community pantry organizer in Iligan, reiterated the importance of the community pantries in their area and their commitment to keep them running. “Malaking tulong ang community pantry sapagkat isang tulay ito para maibsan ang kahirapan ng komunidad, lalong-lalo na’t limitado ang galaw ng mga Iliganon dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa siyudad. Mananatili ang DXIC Community Pantry depende sa budget, at kapag may magbibigay pa ng kanilang donasyon ay ipagpatuloy namin ang community pantry. Maliban sa Pilmico, may mga private individuals din na nagbibigay ng kanilang donasyon. (Community pantries are a big help as they are one way to alleviate the suffering of the community, especially now that the movement of Iliganons are limited due to the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the city. The DXIC Community Pantry will remain open, depending on the budget, and if there are others who’ll give more donations, we will continue the community pantry. Aside from Pilmico, there are also private individuals giving their own donations),” Cabanday shared.
Ryan Sulit, an organizer of the New Lower Bicutan Community Pantry, said the continuous outpouring of donations from individuals and companies like Aboitiz and Pilmico keeps their community pantry alive. He said he intends to keep it sustainable to benefit the community members who lost their jobs (mostly pedicab and jeepney drivers and factory workers) when the pandemic hit.
“Plano ko naman na gawing sustainable ito. Like mamigay ng mga seeds na pwede nilang itanim. Also, balak kong magbenta ng mga printed shirts and the proceeds will go to the pantry. Hindi ko rin naman po pwede pilitin magdonate ng magdonate ang mga donors natin. Ang problema ko lang po is the capital (I really plan to make this sustainable. I could give away seeds that they can plant. I also plan to sell printed shirts and the proceeds will go to the pantry. After all, I can’t force donors to keep donating. My only problem now is the capital),” he shared.
Zyrone Espiritu, Sangguniang Kabataan Chairman of Brgy. Pag-Asa in Olongapo City, where Aboitiz Construction, Inc. (ACI) joined the Foundation in the ‘Accessible Bread for Communities’ project, appreciated the donations from the Aboitiz Group. “Since many families are struggling because of the pandemic, these donations will help in alleviating the impact of the situation. Your donations proved that the spirit of camaraderie is very important, now more than ever,” they said.
For the Aboitiz Group, supporting communities is part of the DNA of the conglomerate. “This activity is a testament to the core values of teamwork and responsibility within the Aboitiz Group. In Aboitiz Construction, we strive to help our project sites’ host communities and find ways to fulfill our commitment to building a better future,” said Nina Ylagan-Pedro, Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Services of ACI.
Since 2013, the Aboitiz Group has been supporting the livelihood of local bakers through Pilmico’s Kutitap Feeding Program, an initiative addressing malnutrition by providing baked goods in public schools. Pilmico sources the bread from local bakers that it supports through technical training and equipment donation. In the same manner, the ‘Accessible Bread for Communities’ campaign centered on sustainable livelihood development by tapping local bakeries while supporting community pantry initiatives in the areas. The campaign also provided donors—especially those based abroad—the means to donate and help their communities through the Aboitiz Foundation’s crowdfunding platform KINDer.
About Aboitiz Foundation
The Aboitiz Foundation is the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group that was established in 1988. Its purpose is to drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities through programs on education, enterprise development, and environment. Since its inception in 1988, the Foundation’s CSR interventions have evolved from one-time donations to carefully designed programs that empower its beneficiaries to pursue their aspirations.
Today, the Aboitiz Foundation, through the Aboitiz Business Units, develops and implements corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs or CSR 2.0 projects that aim to co-create safe, empowered, and sustainable communities. These CSR 2.0 projects are aligned to the Group’s core competencies, are scalable nationwide, and create a deeper social impact on the communities and beneficiaries it serves.
[Article submitted by Jowelle Ann Cruz, Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.]