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Dec 07th
Home Sections Food Inventing the "FOOD" for the World (Part II)
Inventing the "FOOD" for the World (Part II) PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Food
Thursday, 24 May 2007 02:33

(Part Two of the Series on “Reinventing the Overseas-Filipino Diet”) 


There are more than 600,000 Filipino-American households in the United States (3.0-million divided by 5 persons per household). And just like many households in this country, Filipino Americans throw to the trash bin so much leftover foods, including milk products and processed food, because their expiry dates have, well, expired, and are no longer said to be fit for human consumption. People in this country throw weekly even lots of fruits that are no longer fresh.

Then just like most people in the United States, Filipino Americans overindulge in preparing sumptuous meals, snacks and desserts during Thanksgiving Day, the Christmas holidays, Easter, birthdays and all kinds of anniversaries and holidays like this long Memorial-Day weekend. Then the day after the holiday, most Americans – including those of Filipino descent or ancestry – start to throw the uneaten food that could not simply be accommodated in the overstocked freezers and refrigerators. Food is simply inexpensive in the United States and often supply exceeds the demand. Then like many Americans, Filipinos in the United States suffer from high-cholesterol levels. And according to physicians, the best ways to keep the levels down are to exercise, eat less and/or eat the right kinds of food in moderate (lesser) amounts.

What if all of the Filipino Americans and Overseas Filipinos were to reduce the amount of meat and food they cook or order in restaurants? There may be less leftover food to throw away week after week. Nobody can really give an accurate estimate of the monetary value of food thrown away each week. But my friends and I have made an educated guess that a Filipino-American household throws away excess food valued somewhere between five to15 dollars a week.

Now if only one-sixth of the Filipino-American households were to cut their food waste by five dollars and donate the money to efforts to combat hunger, then theoretically more than $500,000 could be raised per week. This will translate into more than two-million dollars per month or some $24-million per year. Now if international organizations like the UNICEF, the Lions or the Rotary Clubs or American foundations like the Catholic Charities are persuaded to put up counterpart funds, then this fund to combat hunger in the Philippines may be doubled to $50-million or more. What if all Filipino-American households were to participate, then the amount could reach $3.0-million per week or more than $156-million per year?

What if the Filipino Americans, many of whom are overweight, will emulate the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and forgo the evening meal every Monday? And donate the money to this proposed fund?

The difficult thing of course is how to effect the monetary collections from the Filipino-American households. Obviously it is not advisable to ship to the Philippines excess food, even canned food items, as the logistics of doing it may be more expensive than the cost of the food.


The"FOOD" Initiative 

One suggested way is to arrange for the churches where the Overseas Filipinos worship to serve as conduits and channel every week the collections (as specified in collection envelopes) to a central collection agency. This agency may be the American Red Cross, which in turn will remit the amount to the Philippine National Red Cross. Perhaps Filipino-American federations such as the Federation of Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce (FPACC) or the regional chapters of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) may pick up this suggestion and adopt ways and means of doing it. The members of Filipino-American provincial, town or even barrio associations may be able to spearhead the collection for their own places of origin in the Philippines. Perhaps the estimated 3,000 Overseas-Filipino associations, clubs or societies can form a loose alliance that for want of a better name (or acronym) I call the "Filipino Outreach by Overseas Donors (FOOD)."

It is never too late for Filipino Americans and Overseas Filipinos to become leaner, healthier and at the same time help feed the millions of our countrymen in the Philippines who eat only two or less meals a day. This is of course in addition to the usual remittances to their kin and loved ones in the Philippines. To borrow again the words of Dr. Conrado Pascual, Sr., nothing beats "giving until it hurts" and at the same time makes the donors healthier.

What say you, Overseas Filipinos and Filipino Americans? Should we do the "FOOD" Initiative? The better question may be, "How can we do efficiently the 'FOOD' Initiative, so that at least 90% of the donated money goes to the feeding of the impoverished masses, starting with the children?"


By tomorrow, we will discuss an idea of Dr. Pascual on how Filipino households may be able to produce mushrooms, asparagus and other vegetables without really trying. Doing the idea of Dr. Pascual may let the “FOOD” Initiative really produce food for the impoverished people of the Earth, especially the Third World.


To read Part III of this series, please click on this link,

Turning the FOOD Into Food Production (Part 3)

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Last Updated on Sunday, 25 May 2008 02:21

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