The year 2020 has turned out to be a shining moment for UFC, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an essential part of the Filipino culinary experience. With deep gratitude for this major milestone, UFC chose to give back—to families in need—with their 50 Acts of Kindness campaign. As part of the event, UFC asked several celebrity endorsers to nominate families who have lost their livelihoods due to the pandemic.
Among the select celebrities were power couple Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli, who nominated 53-year-old Salvador R. Tiburcio as their beneficiary. Before the pandemic, Salvador had regular income as a maintenance man. When the government instituted measures to curb the spread of the virus, Salvador found himself stranded at home, unable to travel to his job site. Since then, Salvador has been making ends meet by doing freelance maintenance work around his apartment building.
“My whole family is affected. They already have jobs but they are still affected by the situation today,” Salvador laments as he recalls the debilitating effects of the pandemic.
Last Dec. 19 and 20, Salvador, along with five other families, received a Sama-samang Sarap ng Pamilya bundle from UFC. The bundle came with a sari-sari store package that included brand-new signage as well as various NurtiAsia products and grocery items. They also received a bicycle with a basket for groceries and a laptop with pocket Wi-Fi. These gifts sought to give the beneficiaries the means to sustain their families in the new year.
Another nominee of Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli was 47-year-old Myra B. Togalon. An experienced seamstress, Myra lost her sewing projects at schools when these shut down in response to the pandemic. With a husband, child, and a PWD sibling at home to support, Myra had to take on work as a cleaning lady around her neighborhood.
The past year has left an unforgettable mark on Myra. "I will never forget this pandemic," said Myra. “There were a series of tragedies, especially when my mother disappeared. There are a few of us in the house eating and then the two of us just crawled. "
Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Guidicelli’s third and last nominee was Rowel Seranias, a 32-year-old company tailor who’s been struggling to feed his family ever since the pandemic hit.
The famed Guerrero siblings also participated in this campaign. Together they nominated 48-year-old Vilma Sedaya, the Guerrero family’s longtime laundry lady who also works at a local market.
Award-winning chef Tatung Sarthou also helped with UFC’s 50 Acts of Kindness. He nominated 35-year-old Billy Ray A. Pascual, a cook who prepared and sold kimchi to help support his family when he lost his job during the pandemic. Chef Tatung also nominated 31-year-old April Sioson, a sales clerk who toils to support her child’s education.
Salvador and his fellow beneficiaries could barely contain their joy upon receiving UFC’s Sama-samang Sarap ng Pamilya packages. They are profoundly grateful to UFC for sharing their goodies with them this holiday season, as well as providing them with a sustainable source of income for the new year.
These beneficiaries’ heartwarming stories give us a glimpse of the intrepid Filipino spirit which shines through even in the darkest times. UFC honors and celebrates these people who continue to embody the meaning of sama-samang sarap ng pamilya every day.
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