MANILA - Julie Rizabal Nicolas and her family in Malabon have been giving away fresh vegetables to families hit by the month-long Luzon lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nicolas' family holds a gathering for the poor every December but this later ballooned into a bi-annual occasion when her 7-month-old granddaughter died of heart ailment.
In honor of Stephanie Dale, the family hosts a party for indigent children every July aside from their Christmas gatherings for poor families.
And today, as people reeled from the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicolas and her family decided to distribute fresh vegetables, rice and other food to indigent families in their hometown in Bangkal, Bulacan.
The funds they used to feed some 200 families are contributions of her family and other relatives here and abroad, Nicolas said.
“Puro de lata yung bigay ng government natin.. sabi ko siguro ang kailangan naman natin ulam ang ibigay ko. Naghango ako sa Balintawak ng bundle-bundle na gulay, yun nirepack-repack ko para naman umabot siya sa 200 families,” she said.
(Government has been giving away canned goods. I said we might as well give them meals. I bought bundles of vegetables in Balintawak and repacked them for 200 families.)
The family has distributed food packs, which come in vegetable packages or a set of pasta ingredients, since Luzon went on lockdown mid-March.
She said people saying “thank you” to them is enough motivation.
“Sabi nga ng Diyos eh maghasik ka ng maganda sa lupa para pagdating mo sa pinto ng langit, pag kinuwestyon ka ni Lord ano ba yung ginawa mo sa lupa?... Kung sinulit mo sa Diyos ‘Lord kahit mahirap ako nagbigay ako sa kapwa ko, na pinasaya ko sila,’ siguro me grant ka kay Lord,” she said.
(Lord said to do good deeds on earth so when you come to Heaven's gates when he asks you, you can tell him, "Lord even if I had little, I gave joy to others.)
Nicolas said she has been posting their family’s good deeds on social media not to boast but to encourage other people to help their countrymen as well.
“Siguro ito yung time na magkaisa ang lahat, magtulungan… Ito hindi namin ginagawa para magpasikat kami… ginagawa lang po ng pamilya namin ito para sa lahat,” she said.
(This is the time for all of us to unite and help each other. We're not doing this to be famous, we're doing this for the benefit of all.)
Nicolas added that she hopes to continue helping the needy until the last day of quarantine on April 12.
“Laban lang tayo. Pasalamat tayo sa Diyos at makinig sa mga tao na alam natin na tama ang sinasabi,” Nicolas said.
(Let's continue to fight. Let's thank the Lord and listen to people we know are saying the right things.)
"Sa sarili natin maging mabuti tayo sa kapwa natin. Para kung dadating man ang ganitong kalamidad, ganitong problema, wala tayong katatakutan na lapitan."
(Let's be kind to others so when calamity comes we won't fear to approach anyone.)