Chef Aiza’s Community Kitchen has formed a collaboration with the reserve unit of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and some local government offices to promote access to healthy meals for Palaweños, especially those being impacted by natural disasters.
Chef Aiza, led by founder Sgt. Melissa Grace Olit, established a community kitchen in Aborlan on October 18 in collaboration with the Tactical Operations Wing West’s (TOW West) 4th Air Reserve Center (ARCEN) and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) to provide nutritious meals to residents affected by severe tropical storm Maring.
The purpose of setting up in Aborlan, according to Sgt. Olit, who is a member of the reserve unit, is to expand the coverage of the community kitchen in the southern part of the province to give support if a catastrophic event occurs.
“Ang aim talaga namin is mapadami natin ‘yong community kitchen sa Palawan para during crisis or natural disaster marami rin tayong matutulungan,” she said.
“For now na build lang muna ang site, sa gilid ng gym pero time will come na per barangay talaga ‘yong paglalagyan,” Sgt. Olit added.
She said Chef Aiza’s Community Kitchen worked with other institutions and individuals to create innovative projects and promote best practices to help communities and governments achieve sustainability and stakeholder participation.
A series of talks on civic tourism and volunteering for others to provide aid where it is needed is part of the community kitchen initiative, she stated.
Sgt. Olit said finding volunteers is not always difficult since some of her friends respond to her appeals through Facebook.
Recently, 10 who responded to help in the community kitchen assisted in distributing nutritious meals to about 350 people in Narra when Maring triggered floods in some barangays.
“Minsan hindi na challenge ‘yong donor. I have thousands of friends sa Facebook, minsan may nagre-respond na 10 volunteers and that 10 volunteers ay nakapagpakain ng 350 people in Narra kaya ganoon ‘yong impact ng tulong at volunteerism,” she said.
“Minsan sasabihin maliit na tulong. Hindi, kasi ‘yong akala mong maliit, malaking tulong na ‘yon. Hindi gaano kalaki o karami, but it’s your sincerity to give it to people,” she added.
Sgt. Olit also encourages anyone who wants to assist to team up with them since they have experience and understanding with the local government unit’s effective coordination and distribution.
“Isa rin sa nilalatag namin ay you join us. Sana mag-unite lahat or mag-merge tayo,” she said, believing that volunteerism’s overall result can make a difference for the greater good.