Would you miss $5 per fortnight? While five dollars can bring small moments of personal joy like getting you that cup of coffee or even a lottery ticket, the sum can stretch further in the Philippines where COVID-19 cases are still averaging more than 5,600 cases a day.  

With so many families losing their livelihoods due to restrictions and business closures, a small group of writers, journalists and civic volunteers from FilPress Sydney have bandied together to help alleviate the situation for many Filipinos in the Philippines that are affected by the pandemic.

When Jimmy Pimentel, convenor of the FilPressSydney asked the group whether they could chip in $5 per fornight to support a pandesal community pantry, everyone happily agreed. Some even gave more than what Jimmy suggested. So a bank account was opened jointly by the group's two Jimmy's - Jimmy Pimentel, the convenor and Jimmy Lopez, acting as Treasurer.

This initiative is being administered by Chinito Reel Casicas, who was introduced to Jimmy Pimentel by a former classmate in Manila. The project was started in the  Baseco section of Tondo on Saturday, July 10.

Chinito reported that the $200 sent by FilPressSydney provided 300 people with a free breakfast consisting of pandesal, champurado and coffee or chocolate for kids. He has provided an itemised list of purchases and few photos to record the outreach. 

The pledge of $5 per fortnight is a small gesture relative to the scale of the problem, but to cheer 300 people up with a breakfast meal, sent with our prayers and best wishes, is a project worth supporting.

If you are an individual or a Filipino organisation interested in how you can do a similar project, email us on australianfilipina@gmail,com and we will connect you with the relevant volunteers.

According to statistics, more than 1.5 million Filipinos in the Philippines have contracted COVID-19, compared to a population of 110 million. In Australia, there are more than 32,000 cases against a population of 25 million.

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