After preparing 1,903,036 meals to city residents here as the country battles the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the “240 Uswag (progress) Community Kitchens (UCKs)” served their last meals on Monday.
Public Employment Service Office (PESO) manager Grace Centino and city focal person for the community kitchen, said on Wednesday that they were both sad and happy that the initiative took its bow after almost three months of providing free meals.
She added that with the project, they were able to get in touch with the community. “Most of the people were thankful with the assistance because none of our constituents went hungry,” she said.
The project initiated by the city government was rolled out on March 22, a week after the metropolis was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The community kitchens were hosted by 204 daycare centers and 37 barangay halls.
A total of 205 daycare workers, 180 supplemental feeding workers, and 447 parent leaders of the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) were tapped to cook and distribute the prepared meals.
On its last day, the kitchens served 16,048 families.
Centino said that segregation of food distributed to barangays was quite a challenge. They have to be good at balancing, such that smaller barangays will have lesser supplies compared with bigger ones.
If they have small populations, then they are served with food daily. However, those with huge populations are served by zones.
“For bigger barangays such as Calumpang, San Juan, Balabago, Tabuc Suba, we distribute per zone. We have at least five community kitchens so they will all be catered,” she said.
They are served either with breakfast, lunch, or snacks depending on their menu. A weekly menu is being prepared and ingredients are delivered on Mondays and Tuesdays.
“They cook whatever ingredients are available as long as it’s healthy,” she said.
In his press conference on Monday, Mayor Jerry Treñas said the city government spent around PHP6 million for the acquisition of meat and another PHP6 to PHP7 million for chicken used for the community kitchens.
Donations from private individuals and groups also kept pouring in.
He said the initiative has helped a lot as he thanked the people who volunteered for the project. (PNA)
Photo Source: CMO/Arnold Almacen