The Sampaloc area, where Gota de Leche is located, recently went through a hard lockdown. We knew we had to find a way to reach out to our PWD beneficiaries and send them the food and vitamin supplies we repacked (mostly by Gota’s Kuya Willie and his wife Judith), even though the odds were quickly piling up against us. Aside from the strict ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) and the difficulty of getting around different barangays, there was a storm coming, and the Sampaloc area is notorious for quickly getting flooded during downpours.
Thankfully, the 48-hour has lockdown has since been lifted. The skeleton staff of Gota de Leche, led by Admin officer Grace Donato, also figured out a way to communicate with and organize the beneficiaries. They were to group themselves into clusters and correspond with our staff via group chat care of Chantal, the new Program Associate. The recipients were to choose a trustworthy representative to receive the packages on their behalf, and to distribute them fairly across adjacent neighborhoods.
There are a total of six clusters – though, unfortunately, not all PWD beneficiaries were able to receive relief packages due to funding and mobility limitations. And while the PWDs needed prescription medication, we were unable to purchase them at the time.
Getting the package to the beneficiaries was another obstacle to hurdle. We decided to do it a couple of ways: with Gota de Leche’s Managing Executive driving and dropping some off in the Tatalon (QC) area, and by booking Lalamove riders to deliver to the rest of the five clusters.
By Tuesday afternoon, five clusters received their packages and the sixth one in Tatalon had a representative, Annie, collect their supplies from Gota’s Managing Executive onboard a hired tricycle. So even with the obstacles and regulations strictly in place, we found ways to get the packages to our PWDs – with a bit of ingenuity and a lot of caring, creative thinking.
This incident has paved the way for a new logistical idea for our beneficiaries. The system of clustering could become the new way of organizing beneficiaries who live in communities as far from each other as Sucat in Muntinlupa, and Rodriguez (Montalban) in Rizal. Utilizing digital technology has certainly helped us in this situation. And while it isn’t the traditional community organizing style that NGOs do or that DSWD uses, it recognizes the reality of our beneficiaries’ lives.