"I Have a Plan . . ."

My wife came up to me recently and said that she wanted to help out the people in her old neighborhood in the Philippines and that she had a plan. I thought she was brilliant . . .

The Philippines is under lockdown/shelter-in-place laws just as we are here, and this started back in mid-March. This means for a working-class and rather poor neighborhood like my wife is originally from, most people have had to leave their jobs and there has been no incoming money for more than a month. In her neighborhood’s particular location, the government has provided rice to allow people and families to survive, but nothing else. My wife’s sister who still lives there marveled at the ridiculousness of it, “What am I supposed to do with 30 kilos of rice?!?”

For the past couple of weeks, as people’s food in their fridge and any little bit of extra money has run out, they’ve had to resort to eating only rice, day after day.

Her family did some canvassing of her neighborhood, which has a lot of her extended family and family friends, and came up with an initial count of 27 houses. My wife sent $300 to her sister there, along with $100 from my wife’s adult daughter. That’s a great deal of money in the Philippines--enough to feed 27 families pretty well for about 10 days.

Taking that $400 (~20,000 pesos), her local sister, nephew, and other family members went shopping for food!


The focus was mostly on protein, so eggs, canned meat loaf, and then noodles to give some variety to the carbohydrates besides only rice. Bags were made up (about 6 eggs were placed into each bag before handing them over to people), and 2 or 3 of these bags were given to each of the families/houses depending on need.



The couches and floors in the house were covered with bags--not just the kitchen table.

The neighborhood was completely taken by surprise, and they were really ecstatic about the food. Some of the people cried because they had lost most hope of getting assistance in any way. They were starving on rice, and I can only imagine after 10 days of eating only rice not wanting to touch that particular food anymore.

One twist was that 10 extra families showed up and had to be turned away because there were not enough bags. Housing is extremely dense in certain metropolitan areas in the Philippines, and often families find ways to squeeze into hard to reach or see areas, and unless you happen to be in the immediate surroundings, you might not know they were there. I think that was the case with the majority of the extra, uncounted people, but I don’t doubt that some may have heard of the good thing going on and might have tried to crash the party from the outside as well.

My wife’s sister who lives in the United States as well then decided to get in on the act, and sent $100 to feed those extra 10 families, and another $100 to purchase coffee and bread for breakfasts for a number of days to the (now) 37 houses/families.

My parents, who are senior citizens, would not be left behind, and they are taking $500 from their Trump checks and their money will buy the next 10-day round of food (which we are planning on sending in the next couple of days).

Me and my wife are very fortunate to still be working during this time, so after that, the following $500 is on me.

One of my co-workers has a Filipina mother-in-law who heard what we are doing, and now she is doing the same to her neighborhood in a different part of the Philippines! It’s amazing how someone can pick up on an idea from one person (my wife!), and the help spreads outward from there.

The governmental relief seems to be very sporadic. About 10 miles from my wife’s neighborhood, the government is not only providing rice, but meat and fruits as well. Out west, in Palawan and Coron, the people were promised rice, but none has been shipped and nobody has received anything so far. Typical bureaucratic messes, and probably some local leaders either not willing to make the effort or worse.

They have really been cracking down on people's movements. Earlier this week they limited grocery shopping to only 3 days of the week--otherwise people are not supposed to come out of their houses. There is a 10:00 PM curfew. Elderly and kids cannot come out of their houses at any time, ever. At least that's the word that we are getting.

Duterte is set to announce whether the lockdown will be extended tomorrow.

But, we are doing what we can for a lot of people--and spreading the word!

(Sorry about not including pictures of more people to give this story more humanity--we do have a lot of photos of the giveaway. But, we want to protect people’s privacy.)

38 users have voted.


mhagle's picture


Everyone doing what they can will make a difference. You guys are saving 37 families!

19 users have voted.


"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Granma's picture

16 users have voted.
vtcc73's picture

It's the inspiration for how too. You gave me the idea I needed to figuring out how. Thanks!

10 users have voted.

"Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now..."


It helps to have a completely trustworthy person on the scene (one who won't siphon off money, etc.) and who has the organizational ability to get things done.

At first she was considering giving cash to everyone, but worried there would be a significant percentage who would just buy alcohol with it (or maybe illegal substances, which could potentially lead to very bad outcomes in that country!). So, she decided direct food was the way to go--rightly so, I think.

She sends the cash via Xoom.com . You can send cash anywhere in the world, pretty much immediately--gets charged to your credit card, and in the case of the Philippines at least, only costs $5.99 for sending up to $5,000. The recipient can pick it up in local currency at a number of local locations defined at the xoom.com site.

11 users have voted.

@apenultimate We were doing something similar with relatives when the Soviet Union collapsed and all the various republics went into total states of poverty. We sent both money and "international aid" which could take a few 2-3 months. I never heard of Zoom. Thanks for reference. Will try it to send money to Spain.

7 users have voted.


My wife has been using xoom.com for years to send money to her immediate family from time to time, when needed. It seems to work well!

6 users have voted.
smiley7's picture

5 users have voted.
Lookout's picture

Excellent project.

Are all people out and about (here and there) wearing masks? It sure seems to slow the spread, and what a simple mitigation strategy.

5 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”