FilAms helping FilAms in a time of Covid-19

Joyce Andes David; Kalaya’an Mendoza
Aris Tuazon; Michael Cruz

By Cristina DC Pastor

In a time of calamity, trust the Filipino American community to act quickly and act with heart. Powerful earthquakes and typhoons in the past have prepared Filipino organizations to efficiently rally their members to fundraise. But in a time of Covid-19, a fast-spreading virus that has forced the shutdown of cities and countries around the world, individuals are giving of themselves in ways that are truly meaningful and of service.

Activist Kalaya’an Mendoza offered to be “grandson for a day,” as he called on friends in the Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, or Woodside neighborhoods of Queens to message him if they need someone to do their errands.

“If you or any of your elders need support with picking up groceries, running errands, and preparing for whatever is coming, please message me directly,” he posted on Facebook. “If your Lola, Lolo, Momo la, Popo la, Dadi, Dada, Abuela, Abuelo, Nai Nai or YeYe needs someone to do a run for them please let me know, hella on the real. I’ll gladly be their grandson for the day.”

Michael Cruz, a K-12 History teacher in Newark, offered to help children with their school work. Using language used by other educators in the teaching community, he posted on Facebook, “While you are homeschooling/remotely/digitally educating your kids, if you need assistance with understanding something that has been assigned to your child, or if you need more resources, just give me a shout.  I am a teacher and would be happy to answer questions.”  Michael has additional experience teaching English Language Arts. He said he can tutor on a variety of subjects.

Panday Banale

National Vice President of JCI USA Joyce Andes David just enlisted her entire family to help tutor kids “or just keep them in check” in their homes.

“Our kids are willing to do a video chat with other kids needing help. We will be hosting a virtual study group. I consider our kids very smart as all are straight A students and/or carry a 4.0 GPA,” she said, pointing out she did not mean to brag, only to “vouch” that her children could be trusted to help with school work.

Artist and filmmaker Panday Banale has been delivering hot meals to seniors in Brooklyn and Queens. “It’s my service to humanity,” said this queer activist who co-founded the Kilawin Kolektibo community of lesbian Pinays in the 1990s.

Ugly Kitchen and several other Filipino restaurants may have closed their dining areas but are continuing to serve through take-out orders. Ugly Kitchen has offered its own delivery service that goes to customers in Midtown Manhattan, the Upper West and Upper East sides hankering for Filipino comfort food.  Said Chef Aris Tuazon, “I will do my best to deliver your food…I appreciate all your help and thank you for always being there for us.”

At a time when a little goes a long way, these individuals have stepped up and reached out because as a community — that’s what we do. Kalayaan puts it this way:  “We have to care and protect one another in the ways our Ancestors would have.”

© The FilAm 2020

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