“We are working almost 24hrs a day”
November 19 – More packages of hot rice and tofu bean curry were served at the Villamore Airbase to the newly arrived victims of the Typhoon who were later transported to the evacuation centers in Manila.
November 18 – The Food for Life team is currently in Sogod Leyte acquiring more supplies for feeding. More than 2000 meals were served this morning in Tacloban city, Palo and Tanauan Leyte. On Sunday, the volunteers serve over 1500 meals in the townships of Mayorga, Dulag and Tolosa. “We are working almost 24hrs a day,” explains emergency relief coordinator, Balaram Das. “It takes a lot of time to prepare meals under these tough conditions. We start cooking as early as 1am and then we leave around 8am for the distribution, before returning as late as 12 midday, only to get ready to do it all again for the afternoon shift,” he said.
Balaram has been taking photos of the distribution, but currently has no way to upload them through email as there’s no electricity anywhere. He expects to be able to upload photos by November 22 when he is able to return briefly to Manilla. All communications to our Food for Life Global office has been through Facebook messenger via his phone. “The people are really happy receiving our meals. In fact, they are running after it! The current situation in Tacloban has calmed down with most of the local people having left the town,” he explained.
Many other relief agencies are in the area, however, Food for Life’s unique contribution to the disaster is their freshly cooked vegan meals. “No other agency is doing this,” exclaimed Balaram. According to Balaram, all other food relief agencies are distributing canned goods, instant noodles and uncooked rice. “Food for Life’s prasadam (sanctified vegan meals) are making a huge impact and providing real nourishment for body, mind and soul. We are so happy seeing them smiling while they take our meals, it really touches our hearts,” he told us.
Last night at 11pm Food for Life started feeding the victims arriving daily (more than 2000) at the Villamor airbase, which is now a shelter for those who have lost everything and trying to find their relatives in Manila.
Earlier this week, we received a note from one of the cooks, “In the morning, we are distributing rice and dahl with coconut cream with squash and green leafy vegetables and in the afternoon, we are serving hot rice and Sotanghon noodle soup with cabbage and chayote potatoes and carrots.”
The Food for Life cooks are making sure that the prasadam (sanctified vegan meals) taste delicious and appeal to the taste of all the recipients. “Food distribution in Leyte will continue until November 21, at which time we will move to Iloilo and Cebu to assist the needy there, explained, FFL director Radha Lila. “Our base camp is inside a partly damaged auditorium provided by the local government in Abuyog. It’s waterlogged inside, so we have to put down pallets to keep dry while we work,” she explained.
FFL Manilla Office
(+632) 890-1947 / 215-0076 or 0917-8378176
(Ask for Radha, Ananda, Gopi, or Gopal)
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Paul Turner co-founded Food for Life Global in 1995. He is a former monk, a veteran of the World Bank, entrepreneur, holistic life coach, vegan chef, and author of 6 books, including, FOOD YOGA (foodyoga.org), 7 maxims for soul happiness (7maxims.com). Turner has traveled to 72 countries over the last 35 years helping to establish Food for Life projects, train volunteers, and document their success.