Food Bank Drive held in Saudi Arabia for Filipinos severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

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The Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah and the Overseas Filipino Workers Council of Leaders (OCL), a federation of several Filipino community organizations in Jeddah, concluded on March 31, 2020 a Food Bank Drive to help Filipinos who were worst-affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Consulate and the OCL began the Food Bank Drive on March 17, 2020, a day after the Saudi government ordered the temporary suspension of work in the private sector as a preventive measure against the further transmission of COVID-19.

“We knew at that time that the work suspension in private companies will affect the livelihood of many Filipinos as a result of the ‘no-work-no pay policy’ that some employers may begin adopting to cushion the economic impact of the crisis,”  Philippine Consul General to Jeddah Edgar Badajos said. “The economic toll will be felt by our kababayans sooner or later, so something has to be done to help fellow Filipinos cope with the situation.”

Meanwhile, OCL Director General Venecio Vano Legaspi said that his group immediately accepted the offer of the Consulate for  partnership because it is in line with OCL’s community advocacy.

The Food Bank Drive was able to provide food packs to around 1,249 Filipino beneficiaries from 92 donor individuals and organizations over a period of 14 days. Each food pack contained rice, noodles, canned goods, and bottled water.

With the continued temporary suspension in private companies, the Consulate and OCL are seriously considering a repeat of this Food Bank Drive initiative.

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