Bay Area Filipinos volunteer to help feed struggling families amid pandemic

SAN JOSE, CA — Volunteers wearing masks and gloves continue to load up car after car of groceries here at the Cathedral of Faith in San Jose, Calif.

The lines snake around the parking lot, as people patiently wait for their free food, a much-needed help amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“As of last week, we were doing between 600 to 900 families today and that last week, we’re actually now doing over 3000. So we’ve actually gone and you can actually see how many people are unemployed and they’re struggling,” said Troy Baloca.

They have an organized system that involves over 100 volunteers, who receive food from the food banks and supermarkets, fill the grocery bags, and load them onto cars.

And these are all done while observing safety precautions.

“We’ve asked people in spite of the fears that God can give us courage to step up in the face of our fears, and serve our community as well as keeping us safe,” said pastor Ken Forman.

ABS-CBN Foundation International Ambassador Noriel Adricula has become a regular volunteer here and he tries to travel beyond the San Jose community to help.

He drives about an hour north from his home in San Jose to deliver groceries to Filipino seniors in Daly City.

He’s hoping more people will be inspired to help out — not only in the U.S. — but also in the Philippines.

“While I am very much involved in this. I am also reaching out to our countrymen, both here and in the Philippines to do their part in helping Pantawid Kapamilya our own initiative in the Philippines because I hope we can bring this much stuff to the Philippines and bring this much food to those who really need them.”

Meanwhile, members of the Cathedral of Faith see a silver lining — despite the uncertainties and fear brought about the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re never going to be the same after this. I mean, if you’re still the same after this, there’s something wrong with you. But no, definitely, and we’re going to finish strong!” said Aurora Corpuz.

“We have these conversations about this new normal, this being the new normal. Well, we’ve come to an agreement that this is not the new normal. It’s not. What we’re being led to is a new normal,” said pator Rommel Corpuz. “We’re going to be stronger because of this. We’re going to be a closer community because of this. We’re going to learn to give because of this. We’re going to learn how to graciously receive it because of this.”

After a month of the shelter-in-place order, the over one hundred volunteers here at the Cathedral of Faith say that the best way to beat cabin fever is serving others.

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