It has been a year of COVID-19 quarantines here in the Philippines. One year since life as we know it ground to a halt because of the pandemic. In a year, we have changed the way we have always done most of the things that we took for granted — from going outside of the house, meeting up with our friends, to even going to work! It was a year when handshakes became elbow bumps and we invented air hugs because it wasn’t safe to give the real thing anymore. We learned to recognize people with masks on, and we washed our hands as much as we could.
For ICM — and for most of the world — it was a year of change, adaptation, and innovation. We had to stop our regular programs because of the community quarantines, and there were more urgent needs to address. Nearly immediately, we started receiving reports and requests for relief from our community. Families and whole communities were starving! “It’s not the virus that will kill us, it’s the hunger,” Lucia, one of our participants, said. It was only through the help of our partner pastors in the communities that we were able to reach them with food just in time because our staff wasn’t allowed in the communities due to the quarantines.
Thanks to our brave and hardworking frontliners: our staff in the provinces, the partner pastors, along with the local government, and through the faithful support of our donors and strategic partners, we were able to distribute over 14 million meals to over a million families this year.
But one year into the pandemic, the crisis is far from over for the poor:
Through our Sentinel surveys in our communities, we have learned that 67% are earning less than before the pandemic; 10% could not afford to buy food; 43% took on debts to meet their financial needs; 27% had to cut spending on their children’s education. This was consistent during the whole year of COVID-19 quarantines.
Despite all this, we have heard a resounding cry of hope from ICM staff and participants alike: “Mag-padayon.” which in many Filipino languages means, “Let’s keep going!” And ICM has continued to bring help, hope, and change to millions of families.
From now until May 31, ICM is launching a campaign to relaunch hope and empower 50,000 people to rebuild from the pandemic. Any amount that you can give would go a long way. To learn more about this giving campaign, visit our page here.