First food bank of SMC to operate for low-income families
As a way to help address hunger, food wastage, and poverty in the country, diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is set to put up its first food bank and community center in Tondo, Manila.
Called the Better World Community Center, the 1,000-square meter facility is located in Barangay 101 in Tondo, right across relocation sites Aromaland and Happyland. These communities house an estimated number of 3,000 families who are considered among the poorest of the poor.
The center will serve as a food bank, soup kitchen, and a livelihood training center for low-income families. It will be the ‘first of its kind in the country,’ according to SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
“This is just the first. By building more sustainable communities in the country we hope to empower those in reduced circumstances to be able to transform their lives,” Ang said.
Ang added that they they are targeting to feed more than 5,000 people every day. “A lot of problems faced by lower-income families, especially hunger, are rooted in inequality. We are committed to bridge that gap,” he said.
SMC has partnered with the local chapter of international organization Rise Against Hunger, who will help in recovering surplus food from San Miguel Food and Beverage, Inc. (SMFB), its food service arm Great Food Solutions, and also the Manila Diamond Hotel and Makati Diamond Residences.
“Donated food will be stored in a food bank in the community center. SMC and Rise have set up a system that is sustainable for the long-term and will maintain strict standards for hygiene,” Ang added.
On the other hand, another partner, A-Ha! Learning Center, will provide after-school learning to children in the community. Other organizations will also be tapped to set-up livelihood training and other capacity-building programs.
“The Better World Community will also focus on other determinants of poverty such as lack of livelihood skills, illiteracy, and little to no access to healthcare. Through this initiative, we hope to make a difference in the lives of many people and help them to become self-reliant,” Ang said.
A portion of this article was published in Manila Bulletin.