San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has distributed more than 70,000 “nutri-buns” to poor communities as part of its ongoing efforts to provide food aid for Filipinos still struggling to cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been almost a year since the pandemic started, and while we have made a lot of headway in terms of addressing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, its economic impact continues to be felt today by almost all sectors of society, particularly the vulnerable. Access to food and basic nutrition is still an issue, especially for our poorest families. This is why we have continued our nutribun distribution program which we started September last year to this day,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
SMC, which revived the nutribun—a staple for schoolchildren in the 70s to fight malnutrition and hunger–in March last year to provide immediate and nutritious food aid to poor communities following the lockdown, started regular distribution of the nutrient-packed bread to select communities in September through its network of Petron gas stations.
Since then, SMC has been distributing 4,000 pieces of nutribuns per week to the poorest communities of Malolos, Tondo, Payatas, and Caloocan through the help of LGUs, the Diocese of Malolos, Gawad Kalinga, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, Puso ng Ama, and volunteers of its Better World Tondo (BWT) facility in Manila.
“We are grateful for our partners’ work in making sure that our nutribuns reach those in need. In the midst of this pandemic, it is crucial for us to continue working together to help as many people as we can,” Ang said.
Last year, SMC mounted the largest food relief drive in the country, with over half a billion in food donations, to help address food insecurity brought about by the crisis.
It donated its own products—including canned goods, fresh meat and poultry, coffee and biscuits, as well as rice and flour. The flour was distributed to local bakers to be made into free or affordable bread for the communities. It also purchased 5,000 liters of excess pasteurized carabao milk which it then distributed to vulnerable communities in Metro Manila and Luzon provinces.
Its Better World Tondo community center also continued to provide daily meals for 465 families in the Tondo area, along with weekly groceries as lockdown guidelines required them to stay home. BWT volunteers also provided meals for all locally stranded individuals (LSIs) stranded in Manila North Harbor and Rizal Coliseum as well as fire victims near the center.