From Farm to Fork, all the way from New York, and many more
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – The pandemic has brought out the best in them.
Despite health and life risks, a local volunteer organization of young professionals here have continued to reach out to needy communities in the Philippines through their projects.
“From Farm to Fork, all the way from New York” was one of the many team efforts of the JCI Philippine-New York, a member of the international organization Junior Chamber, cautiously undertaken during the pandemic. It also initiated a book & toy drive (Share a Book of Knowledge project) for school children in the southern Philippines. These projects won the JCI Philippine-New York the outstanding local project in management development and outstanding local project in international affairs awards.
JCI Philippine-New York President Ann Constantino Beck said that her group continued to advance community service despite the pandemic. “We always try to do our best to act and respond quickly.” She thanked the JCI New York State for the awards and for the team effort of her group.
“Honestly, we were scared to go out of our comfort zone. We didn’t want to bring the virus home and infect our families but we felt that it was time for community service as well. It was challenging but we enjoyed it,” Beck said.
The Farm to Fork project was an 8-week fundraiser for a food mobilization program that started in August 2020. The young professionals collected $646 from local donors. It was their debut partnership with JCI Alabang in the Philippines. Through the program, JCI Alabang purchased 400 bags of vegetables (2000 kg.) from Benguet farmers. It provided income to some 23 farming families during the pandemic through JCI’s bulk purchase and provided fresh vegetables to The Children’s Foster Homes in Alabang.
From the book and toy drive, a total of 16 boxes of children’s books were sent to the Philippines in partnership with schools in Mindanao, the Malaybalay City Central School SPED Center in Malaybalay, Bukidnon and the Dunggoan Elementary School in Cagayan de Oro City.
Head of project Merry Ann Fernandez said that the book and toy drive have created camaraderie among the New York members and improved the literacy and self-development opportunities of children in the project areas.
For the New York front liner nurses and medical staff, JCI Philippine-New York also participated in the Coffee Run which raised funds to purchase coffee and snacks in bulk from a Filipino-owned coffee shop in Manhattan, the Kabisera Kape. Some 350 coffee cups and snacks were delivered by JCI Philippine-New York members for eight days to various hospitals in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx in the height of coronavirus cases in NYC in the spring and summer of 2020.
The Coffee Run was a community effort of various Filipino groups and individuals that made the Kabisera survive the pandemic and for the nurses and doctors to feel that they were being cared for by the community.
At the JCI New York convention awards in November, the projects and leaders cited for their merits were: Ann Constantino Beck for Outstanding Local President, Mari Francine Krizia Daya for Outstanding Community Development Vice President, Jubert Paul ong for Outstanding Individual Development Vice President, JCI Philippine-New York for Outstanding Local Chapter, Andrew Luis for Outstanding Local Executive Vice President, Carla Angeline Mongado for Outstanding Local Membership Services, Ai Aromin for Outstanding Chapter Officer, Nikolai Beck and Romainne Luis for Outstanding Local Very Important Partner, and Elaine Shroeder, Outstanding Jaycees Member.
Just recently, JCI Philippine New York partnered with a New York-based group Handang Tumulong and Manila-based JCI Quezon City Capitol in sending cash assistance of $2000 to victims of typhoon Ulysses in the province of Cagayan in Luzon. #