Filipino community gives back to frontliners through donations, free meals

NEW YORK — You may not see it – but behind those N95 masks are big smiles, as these healthcare workers take a much-needed break from saving the lives of COVID-19 patients.

These New Yorkers opened their hearts and their wallets to give thanks and celebrate the heroes of the medical battle against coronavirus.

This is what Kabisera, a Filipino-owned café in New York City, calls its coffee runs, where customers donate funds via Venmo so Kabisera can warm the hearts of frontliners with their drinks and snacks.

This is what bayanihan in America looks like, according to Kabisera’s Augee Francisco.

“We want to do our part, and we fill the needs of our frontline workers, we know the risk that they are taking,” said Francisco. “We need to do our part, and our part is to bring happiness to people.”

Some call it a circle of giving — exhausted frontliners get to catch their breath with free food and drinks, while businesses struggling in an economy on pause gets a lifeline, from New Yorkers stuck at home wanting to give back to those who save the lives of many.

“It gives business to small businesses like us Kabisera, it gives jobs to workers, it gives benefits to our frontline workers – this is a cycle of goodness.”

This cycle of goodness continues in the neighboring state of New Jersey, where some Filipinos are serving free meals to frontliners.

“The giving out of the food and helping the delivery is really a small act, but it could be expressed in a bigger way if the community do their part and give back.”

“These are stressful times,” said nurse Roselle Militante. “So all these donations, the prayers, the messages of hope that we’ve been receiving really help to relieve the stress.”

With the spirit of bayanihan, these Filipinos in the East Coast believe, it’s easier to survive the crisis — that even in the most challenging times, human kindness will always shine through.

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