Unemployed Filipina in Dubai Provides 200 Free Meals Daily to the Hungry

United Arab Emirates

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Good Samaritan from the Philippines is inspiring the world through generosity and love for her countrymen in need.

The story: Feby Dela Peña, an unemployed Filipina in Dubai, has been cooking and distributing free meals to her fellow Filipinos in the past few weeks. She believes that while her family doesn’t have much, this should not be a reason for not helping others. 

  • Dela Peña began her admirable act a month ago after noticing out-of-work Filipinos waiting in line for free food near her building. 
  • She asked herself: “What if her family, too, had lost their income amid the Covid-19 outbreak? How would she have fed her three children?”
  • She decided to withdraw the money that she set aside for a month’s budget for food and groceries.
  • After learning of her plan, her 11 housemates also chipped in to help, according to the Associated Press.
  • With the money, Dela Peña was able to buy 30 frozen chickens and some sacks of rice worth a total of 500 dirhams ($136).
  • The project, which she calls “Ayuda” (Filipino word for help), offers 200 free meals daily to the hungry.
  • Aside from Filipinos, there are also Africans, South Asians and others who benefit from Dela Peña’s generosity.
  • “It’s a big thing if you can help like 10 people not to sleep hungry,” she said.

 

Why this is important: Migrants account for 90% of the workforce in the UAE and nearly a quarter of them are Filipinos. Communities of migrant workers were among those severely affected after the economic shutdown caused by COVID-19. 

  • Around 650,000 Filipinos have migrated to the UAE for work.
  • As of May 29, 40 Filipinos have died of COVID-19 in Dubai, reports Manila Bulletin
  • As the pandemic continues to paralyze the local economy, many are struggling to secure their next meal.
  • The UAE’s program to feed the poor called “10 million meals” does not reach all.
  • The Philippine government’s one-time cash assistance for overseas Filipino workers of around $200 did not last long. 
  • “Life is so hard and they don’t have anyone to depend on,” Dela Peña said.
  • Inspired by her heroic act, Emirates Loto will provide Dela Peña with resources to cook another 10,000 meals for her personal initiative.

Feature Image via AP Archive

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