When Filipina, Rose Santos, heard stories of suffering and hunger in her community, due to the coronavirus and its financial impact, she decided to act.
Rose, who has been in Bahrain 16 years, is PA to the director of a car leasing company and is currently still working. But she was deeply touched to hear that many of her countrymen and women were going hungry due to layoffs.
She explains: “I read in the news about people going hungry and desperate. My friends were telling me the same and I actually met some people who were in dire need. The problem is hunger, I thought, so I’ll cook food to feed people. Simple as that.
“Some people are desperate – it may be that it’s too far to shop, they may have no money or may be scared to go out. But mostly [they are] OFW [Overseas Filipino Workers] that have lost their jobs or [are in] no work-no pay scenarios during this difficult time of COVID 19.
“I felt like I’m in the Philippines, thinking that many of my compatriots are experiencing helplessness; my husband, Steve Blight, is doing charitable work there, also for the needy, while being stuck there. So, I did the same here.”
She continues: “I hooked up with an organisation which is also helping groups. They have a database of who is asking for help. They register them as members or colleagues of their members. That’s where I come in. [It’s] people that I personally know or friends of friends who have similar challenges. I personally deliver the hot meals and essential groceries to them. I initially planned to feed 25 people, then it became 30, 50 and 100!
“At first, I decided to use my own money to cook meals. I shared this initiative with my group here called ‘The Luscious Ladies of Bahrain’ and slowly kind-hearted people started to share their blessings [with donations] to this cause.”
Rose’s niece, who herself is in a no work-no pay arrangement, is helping and, despite her own job, Rose is also spending a great deal of time in the kitchen. She says: “For 50 persons, I spend three hours cooking, that’s a three-course meal of rice, main dish and veggies, not including shopping, preparation and distribution. One time, I got home at almost 10pm after my last delivery from the furthest corner of Budaiya.”
Asked what’s needed to keep the operation running, the kind-hearted cook replies: “Ingredients for the menu, arranging packaging materials, setting up the table, packing. Also arranging some bags of groceries, placing them all into the boxes, arranging contacts and locations, delivery times and whalaaaa, it’s good to go!”
She concludes: “As long as friends or friends of friends are willing to share their blessings and people are still asking for help, I’ll keep going.”
If anyone would like to help, Rose can be reached on WhatsApp at 33 311-910.