Local Edmonton Filipinos bring joy to the vulnerable, seniors and essential workers

EDMONTON, CANADA — Weeks in isolation have taken a toll on many, who are now living in extended periods of unemployment and uncertainty.

Many overseas Filipinos have never felt more homesick.

Luis Oropesa is a permanent resident of Canada who’s been having panic attacks for three weeks now.

“I can neither sleep nor eat. I felt everything. I wanted to go home to the Philippines and be with my family because I was scared.”

Oropesa now plans to go home as soon as flights to the Philippines are available.

In response to people’s growing loneliness — a number of Filipino Canadians are doing what they can to bring joy.

For a couple of months now, Jaytee Balmores of Jeepney Jaytee food truck has distributed food packs and groceries to over 2,500 front line workers temporary workers and new immigrants in the Edmonton area.

“At first it just started with appreciating my friends who are frontliners, kasi I used to be a nurse, and then all of a sudden I received a lot of appreciation from my friends, and I just opted to continue everything what I was doing for the nurses, for the doctors.”

Financial advisor Glenn Elle, on the other hand, has been delivering groceries to one of the most vulnerable sectors in the community: seniors.

“I know that a lot of people are feeling the pain right now, right in terms of not just the financial impact, but the health, the freedom that we are able to enjoy a few, you know, by being restricted at home. But one thing I can share with all of you is that there is hope.

While this pandemic has been hard on everyone, Filipinos in Edmonton are still reaching out to one another to show that even in isolation, people are never alone.

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