Adapting to the New Normal
The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the many ways we conduct our daily activities. Almost every aspect of our lives has been affected: how we interact with others, how we work, and how we move around and travel.
The pandemic may have limited the mobility of the Tiwala staff team to meet with our beneficiaries face-to-face, but it has also tapped into our creativity and determination to continue to build strong foundations in the lives of underprivileged children and families here in Bicol, Philippines. Here are some ways we are adapting to the new normal:
Books and Bikes
Children are still not yet allowed to go out of their homes here in Legazpi City. Schools have been closed since March and won’t reopen till next month. This means that kids have been at home for five months already. To make their stay in their homes productive, we rolled out a reading program for more than 150 Tiwala children. It was a challenge preparing and printing 40 lessons and worksheets, but it was well worth it. Many parents sent messages and photos of their children reading the books and answering the activities. They were very grateful that their kids were given educational tools to ensure that learning continues in their homes.
We are also thankful for the monetary donation for new bicycles that Tiwala friends sent us. Public transportation is still not back to normal and so the Tiwala teachers use the bikes to deliver the books to our target communities.
Gulay for Nanay
July is nutrition month and to come alongside families in providing nutritious food for their children, we distributed more than 200 kilograms of vegetables to moms attending our bible study groups in six communities in Legazpi City. The food packs were received with much gratitude especially that their sources of income were affected by the local lockdown. Although they received relief goods from the local government, these were mostly comprised of processed and canned goods. The vegetable packs we distributed were a nutritious addition to their food supplies.
The staff of Tiwala jumped on the bandwagon of online food selling and cooked the tried-and-tested specialty recipes of Mommy Jean (Tiwala staff). In between lesson preparations, administrative tasks, and following up our beneficiaries, we would whip up maja blanca and fresh lumpia in the Tiwala kitchen and deliver them to our customers. This endeavor has been met with significant support from friends and strangers, and there has been a steady demand for the said items. We hope to use the profit from this food business to finance other livelihood endeavors of the families we are serving.
We also partnered with Pasa-BUY, an online local business providing services and products to Bicolanos. Through this partnership, a portion of their sales will go towards providing hygiene kits and school supplies for Tiwala kids and families. We are grateful for small businesses like Pasa-BUY who still seek to help needy communities even during these challenging times.
On top of all these new ventures, we also received a donation of a brand-new sewing machine, and we have been busy crafting products that our beneficiaries can sew themselves and also resell for a profit.
Indeed, opportunities to serve others continue to abound amid this pandemic. Thank you very much for continuing to support us through your prayers, words of encouragement, and donations. We hope that you and your family are also experiencing the Lord’s protection, provision, and presence. May His grace and peace sustain you and your loved ones.