Holiday food drive helps families in Pangasinan

Elderly woman lines up for her bag of rice and canned goods.

Community organization Frenz4hope held a special holiday food drive benefiting 100 indigent families in Portic district (barangay) in the municipality of Bugallon, Pangasinan on  December 24. This special holiday program was sponsored by Roberto Villanueva, a dance artist and educator in New York and a spinal cord tumor survivor.

Food assistance was given to indigent families  to help them have a wonderful holiday season. The families were given bags with spaghetti packs and rice. A sweet Filipino-style spaghetti is traditionally served on special occasions in the Philippines, particularly during Christmas. Filipinos consider this much-loved dish a treat.

As with Frenz4hope’s past programs, each family also received an item with a new uplifting message — “While there’s life, there’s hope” — and placed it along with the food items inside reusable/eco bags that do not harm the environment.

Villanueva, Frenz4hope’s executive director and sponsor, is thrilled to support this holiday food drive. He has funded various programs for his company BalaSole Dance in New York City since 2010 providing visibility to underrepresented and marginalized artists, complimentary concert tickets to senior citizens and free creative movement classes to disadvantaged children.

The community raises four fingers with keychains, a gesture symbol of hope, and bags of goodies.   
From left, Frenz4hope member Arjay Flores, Vice Mayor Winston Tandoc, and Frenz4hope program director Roman Dela Cruz who organize the food drive.

This holiday food drive was arranged through the offices of the municipal mayor Priscilla Espino and vice mayor Winston Tandoc in coordination with district captain Edilberto Orduña and councilor Jessica “Joe” Cayabyab. It was organized by Frenz4hope program director Roman Dela Cruz along with co-members John Chris Campos, Arjay Flores, Denilyn Lucas, Joey Lucas, and Mark Anthony Manghi.  

Frenz4hope was created by close friends who come from different hometowns in Lingayen, Pangasinan. Their group members hold positions in public and private sectors including hospitality, tourism, telecommunication and government. Their goal is to use their friendship as a way to help others in their community. Most of the members get together weekly to enjoy fun group activities such as playing online games, creating TikTok videos, singing karaoke, and cooking traditional Filipino dishes. The group holds community support/service events.

Villanueva currently holds a position as an administrator at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He is also the executive & artistic director of BalaSole Dance. He has 27 years of professional background in financial management, operations and strategic planning, as well 30 years of experience as an arts producer, administrator, educator, performer, choreographer, and adjudicator in North America, Europe and Asia.

As a philanthropist, he has funded programs that help marginalized and overlooked artists, financially disadvantaged children, and under-served seniors citizens. As a spinal cord tumor survivor, he has been dedicating part of his time spreading awareness about this rare disease through his informational and educational blog, “My Spinal Cord Tumor Journey,” at

© The FilAm 2022

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