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In the Philippines, shops offer free food to exhausted hospital staff amid coronavirus

In times of crisis, victims and responders alike are often overwhelmed and under extreme pressure and stress. The support of the community will be crucial in helping the sick, shoring up spirits, augmenting limited resources, and providing relief to those on the front lines.

This is particularly critical as the whole world battles with the public health crisis wrought by COVID-19.

Ever since it was discovered in 2019 in China, COVID-19 has since spread to 100 countries, with records from the World Health Organization indicating 167,515 confirmed cases and 6,606 deaths. The numbers are staggering and frightening. But there is one message that is central to battling this virus: We are all in this together.

The guidelines are clear: practice hand hygiene, keep a safe distance, and seek medical assistance when symptoms and possibility of infection are present. Since COVID-19 is highly contagious, hospitals are frequently overrun. Fortunately, those who manage to stay well are also contributing to the effort by supporting healthcare workers, military personnel, police officers, and others who serve front and center in the crisis.

All over the world, fast food chains, restaurants, and private citizens have heeded the call to provide free food and coffee to overworked doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who are working tirelessly to fight off the pandemic.

In the Philippines, various businesses are donating food and other services. Zark’s Burgers, a popular burger joint, stated, “Hats off to all our Filipino frontline healthcare providers who are working hard through these challenging times. We sent burgers to nearby hospitals as a way to thank them for tirelessly and selflessly ensuring everyone’s safety amid COVID-19. Thank you all for your service. Be safe. Let’s help one another. This too shall pass!”

With 53 branches all over the country, Zark’s Burger has also mobilized its forces to help victims of other disasters, such as the eruption of the Taal Volcano in January, providing each donor with its popular ultimate burger.

A number of other businesses have followed suit. Kanto Freestyle, another popular chain of restaurants, prepared food packs for a number of Metro Manila hospitals. Vincent Juanta, managing partner of Kanto Freestyle, said, “With all the help and sacrifices that they are doing right now, the least that we can do is to show our appreciation and express our gratitude to all our frontline healthcare workers, who are our modern-day heroes during these trying times.”

Pino Restaurant and other restaurants in its group, such as Pi Breakfast and Pies and the vegetarian restaurant Pipino, are giving free and unlimited brewed coffee to all medical staff and scientists, in nearby hospitals and universities.

A number of hospitals have coffee shops and restaurants within their buildings, and they have stepped up to help as well. St. Luke’s Medical Center, for instance, thanked the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for their free coffee. Hospital staff responded, “Thank you for your “caring cup” Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf! Our heroes are deeply touched by your gesture of kindness and solidarity.

The same hospital likewise thanked Rue Bourbon Restaurant for sending food to their Emergency Room staff, stating, “The simple act of kindness means a lot to our healthcare workers. This gesture reflects how their efforts are valued at this difficult time.”

SM Markets, the supermarket arm of one of the biggest companies in the country, also offered free turon (a popular local snack) and bottled water to doctors and nurses to show their appreciation for the “real heroes.” Mcdonald’s also expressed their gratitude with free food and drinks, saying, “Thank you to all medical health workers who tirelessly serve communities day in and day out to keep us safe and protected during this time.”

Staff at Makati Medical Center have also been posting photos of food donations from various restaurants, including Tim Ho Wan and Hawker Chan.

Volunteer groups have also been formed to ensure that food reaches medical and military personnel. Salamat PH Healthcare Heroes, for instance, calls for donations and supports the fight against COVID-19 by providing nourishing meals to hundreds of workers in hospitals and military stations.

One of the restaurants working with this group is Gourmet Gypsy Art Café, which also supports people with autism by training them in the food and beverage business, and providing them with employment.

There are many other efforts, both big and small, from the large restaurant chains distributing food, to students donating graduation money to buy food for health workers, or citizens sending food packs to their favorite doctors, or people helping the elderly, to protect them from getting the disease.

These heartwarming stories show that a crisis not only brings out the best in humanity, but also binds people together. In this public and global health crisis, we really do need to work and help one another to fight COVID-19.

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