MANILA, Philippines — In the face of the new normal, doing good has gone more digital. In the time of uncertainty and anxiety brought by the global pandemic, people have been showing their support for the country’s health workers by using social media to raise funds for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face masks, face shields and hazmat suits.
Last March, as the community quarantine commenced, five friends in Quezon City got together in a eureka moment to start a PPE fund drive for the country’s front line healthcare workers. With the help of friends, families and kind strangers, they have raised over P3.2 million as of April 28, 2020, alone.
According to 26-year-old Jonas Tamayo, it was his friend Chabeli Cua who came up with the idea. Cua, along with Choi Co, took care of sourcing supplies as well as building hospital relations. Meanwhile, friends Frankie Cu and Ysa Syyap handled the finances and logistics while Tamayo took the reins in communications.
From the group’s initial target to provide help to around 5-10 hospitals. the strong response of people who took part in their campaign enabled them to do much more.
“Our donations are more than what we expected when we first started this fund drive. This enabled us to produce or procure thousands of face shields, hazmat suits and N95 masks. We have distributed these various PPEs to over 100 hospitals and groups with the same beneficiary as ours, such as the Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay program,” shared Tamayo.
The group used three social media main channels as platforms for their campaign – Facebook, Instagram and a live Google Doc that was then made available to the public for transparency.
“Social media has played a big role in helping raise awareness about our donation drive. It was also vital in terms of gathering more hospital contacts from different people who have seen our posts,” Tamayo added.
“We did most of the legwork through different digital platforms, specifically on delivery and payment transfers. Digital plays a big role on how we try to live in the ‘new normal’ and we have to learn how to use it responsibly to our advantage,” Tamayo noted.
Another group, CloudEats, founded by Kimberly Yao and Iacopo Rovere have been helping out front line workers by providing them with hot meals. To date, the group has raised P3.8 million and has given over 60,000 hot meals through various partner hospitals and local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila.
CloudEats is the largest cloud kitchen company in the Philippines–serving as a restaurant kitchen that accepts incoming orders only through online ordering systems and offers no dine-in facility.
“Given that our business is under essential goods and that we could still operate, we wanted to make sure that we are able to help out to those who are in need,” Yao said.
“We believe that in this time, our community needs to work together more than ever to survive the pandemic. Food is a vital product that everyone needs. We gladly offered our services to help and feed the hard working and hungry,” Yao added.
Yao and Rovera have distributed all their donations to partner hospitals and LGUs, including the Philippine General Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, the National Kidney Transplant Institute, Cardinal Santos Medical Center and the Philippine Heart Center.
To raise awareness about their campaign, the two have relied on Spotify, Facebook and Instagram and with the help of families and friends, they gathered a significant amount of donations through Facebook and Instagram tags and shares. The group also posted updates on their feed, stories, and newsletters regarding the progress of the food drive.
“It helps that a lot of our family and friends share our materials on their personal pages, group chats and public groups,” Yao said.
To utilize social media, the company put up a donation website for the food drive. For those who are interested to take part in this campaign, you may donate and learn more about the fund drive at www.cloudeats.ph.
All the way in Ilocos Sur, 24-year-old Kitkat Pajaro, along with her group of friends started a fundraising campaign called “TULONG ILOCANO”. It is a COVID-19 fund drive for frontliners based in Ilocos Sur. For Pajaro, the group wanted to create a platform for other Ilocanos who want to help frontline medical workers in COVID-19 hospitals in Ilocos Sur. With this goal in mind, the group’s initial target was P150,000 but they managed to raise P162,158.40 of total donations.
“We were able to purchase necessary medical supplies and various PPE to three designated COVID-19 hospitals in Ilocos Sur, including Gabriela Silang General Hospital, Magsingal District Hospital and Narvacan District Hospital,” Pajaro said.
To push their fund drive, Pajaro and her friends used three major social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
“Our team created materials for everyday online posting. This mostly consists of daily updates across our social media platforms until we were able to reach our goal of P150,000. We even encouraged our other friends to repost and even tried to talk to some influencers so as to get the word out more,” she added.
“It is tough to navigate life and the new normal in the middle of a pandemic, but these generous and digitally adept millennials show us that we can still contribute and make things better for our communities. Their creative and responsible use of our network and digital services inspire us to work harder to make sure that more people will benefit from technology,” said PLDT Public Affairs Head Ramon R. Isberto.
To know more about the efforts of the PLDT Group in beating the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit https://beta.pldt.com/covid19/