How can we dignify and help folks from communities who are more economically in need, compared to the other communities in the city, during these times of public health crisis? Organize a ‘community resource sharing event.’ That’s what three organizations did to serve an urban poor neighborhood in Davao City.
Catherine Olitao of Precious Light Community Transformation Center, Sihaya Ansibod of PeaceBuilders Community – Greater Davao, and Aldren Banal of Coffee For Peace, Inc. organized a “Community Resource Sharing Event” to serve 70 families from San Rafael, Davao City. They don’t want to use such terms as “relief distribution” or “donors” or “beneficiaries.” They don’t want people to stand in line. They don’t want people to experience the indignity of being actually handed out a pack of food items.
It was like a front yard acquaintance party!
Representatives of 70 families were invited at different times. 4 families, whom they referred to as “event participants,” arrived every 10-20 minutes. They were welcomed with Kapeyapaan coffee and Mandy’s Focaccia bread while their grocery bags—containing 5 kilos of premium rice and a half kilo of dried fish from Davao Community Consumers Cooperative; a bottle of Annie’s gourmet shrimp paste; and, a kilo of freshly-harvested carrots from A and J Mahayahay Farm—were placed on a chair for them to pickup at their convenience.
Volunteers from the three organizing groups hosted the event participants—welcoming, listening, serving, doing selfies with them. Everything happened in 6 hours, from set up to clean up.
The organizers actually are also receiving help in this Community Resource Sharing Event. All the food items in the grocery bag, including the snacks they served, were products of budding social entrepreneurs. Local, national, and international impact investors bought those products in advance—like a subscription. The budding social entrepreneurs are supported while they are required to produce quality products.
The social entrepreneurs being nurtured by Precious Light Community Transformation Center will be supported through an app which will be developed by its leadership and technical volunteers.
The social entrepreneurs trained by PeaceBuilders School of Leadership are enabled to market their products locally and nationally. PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee for Peace are supporting them with e-commerce capability.
We hope to replicate these principles in various community contexts, by the Creator’s gracious and merciful will.