By James A. Loyola
Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is putting up its first food bank and community center in Tondo, Manila to help address hunger, food wastage and poverty.
SMC President Ramon S. Ang said that their Better World Community Center will be “the first of its kind in the country.” It will serve as a food bank, soup kitchen and a livelihood training center for low-income families.
“This is just the first. By building more sustainable communities in the country we hope to empower those in reduced circumstances to be able to transform their lives,” Ang added.
The 1,000-square meter facility—which used to be a beer warehouse and distribution center–is located in Barangay 101 in Tondo, right across relocation sites Aromaland and Happyland.
The communities house an estimated 3,000 families or about 15,000 people who are considered among “the poorest of the poor.”
The San Miguel Foundation has partnered with the local chapter of international organization Rise Against Hunger, to help with the food bank and soup kitchen.
“A lot of problems faced by lower-income families, especially hunger, are rooted in inequality. We are committed to bridge that gap,” And said.
He noted that, “the target is to feed more than 5,000 people every day. Rise Against Hunger will help in recovering surplus food from San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc. (SMFB), its food service arm Great Food Solutions, as well as the Manila Diamond Hotel and Makati Diamond Residences.”
“Donated food will be stored in a food bank in the community center. SMC and Rise have set up a system that is sustainable for the long-term and will maintain strict standards for hygiene,” Ang added.
Meanwhile, another partner, A-HA! Learning Center, will provide after-school learning to children in the community. Other organizations will be tapped to set-up livelihood training and other capacity-building programs.
“The Better World Community will also focus on other determinants of poverty such as lack of livelihood skills, illiteracy, and little to no access to healthcare. Through this initiative, we hope to make a difference in the lives of many people and help them to become self-reliant,” Ang said.