Eight months ago, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Philippines was admitted to San Lazaro Hospital (SLH) in Manila. Considered the oldest hospital in the Philippines, SLH is the top infectious disease facility in the country. It is among the few that admit COVID-19 patients, as well as cases of meningococcemia, diphtheria, and even rabies, which other hospitals would not have the specialization to handle.
But even with its status, its personnel continue to have a difficult time during this pandemic.
“Those who had difficulty getting a ride and wala silang sasakyan, sa office natulog. We had to convert the other offices and some of the wards na wala pong patients for employees na walang transportation (Those who had difficulty getting a ride and finding transportation slept at the offices. We had to convert other offices and some wards that had no patients to accommodate employees who were having transportation issues),” shared Dr. Ferdinand de Guzman, an infectious disease specialist who also double-hats as the hospital’s spokesperson.
“Noong nag-lockdown tayo, there were no restaurants to buy food. A lot of the staff, as well as the patients and watchers, they [usually] buy the food from the stalls at the front of the hospital. With the lockdown, wala pong nagtitinda (During the lockdown, there were no restaurants to buy food from. A lot of the staff, as well as the patients and watchers, they would usually buy the food from the stalls at the front of the hospital. With the lockdown, those stalls had to close, too),” said Dr. de Guzman.
Chowking sends support as part of Jollibee Group FoodAID
When the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) was reimposed in Metro Manila this August 2020, Chowking immediately sent ready-to-eat meals to SLH to help energize its frontliners.
“We cannot cook in the offices. Kung meron man sa lounge, hindi naman tayo pwedeng makaluto nang mabuti doon so it was a big help po iyong mga pinadalang pagkain. (The food sent to us was big help. While there is a lounge, you can’t really cook much there so the ready-to-eat food was such a big help to us),” said Dr. de Guzman.
In fact, SLH is among the hospitals which the Jollibee Group immediately sent food to as part of its FoodAID Program when the lockdown was first declared in March of this year.
Aside from ready-to-eat meals for the frontline personnel, Chowking and other brands from the Jollibee Group also sent food packs that the SLH staff prepared in its kitchen and served to the patients confined in the hospital. In all, Jollibee Group provided SLH with almost 3,000 ready-to-eat meals for frontliners and food packs that benefitted about 6,000 hospital staff, patients, and watchers.
“We recognize the extraordinary service and sacrifice that the men and women at the frontlines are rendering at this time. We hope that through the food that we give them, we can help nourish and bring joy to our modern-day heroes,” said Jollibee Group Foundation Executive Director Gisela Tiongson.
With the COVID-19 still putting a strain on health care systems and the community quarantine still in place, supporting the frontliners continues.
To give the public a convenient way to actively participate in the FoodAID Program and be able to help more frontliners and families in need, the Jollibee Group has complemented the coin banks on the counters of Jollibee Group restaurants with an online version.
Donations through the digital coin bank will be used to bring food packs directly to families and frontliners such as Dr. de Guzman and the staff at SLH.
Interested donors may donate through online bank transfer to the Foundation’s Metrobank (Account number: 473-7-473-01406-4, SWIFT Code: MBTCPHMM) and RCBC (1253-10519-0) accounts, or via PayMaya (http://pymy.co/jollibee).