Disaster relief food: Beyond instant noodles and canned goods
Before exhausting the instant noodles supply of the local grocery store, those who want to donate food to relief operations may want to explore more nutritious options.
While food items with long shelf lives are the most popular donations in times like these, relief operations also welcome hot packed meals that are ready-to-eat, giving donors an opportunity to insert some nutrition in their diets.
“Kailangan yung mga food makakain kung kailan siya kailangan,” said Roselie Asis of the Nutrition branch of World Food Programme (WFP) Philippines in an interview with GMA News Online.
“Kailangan yung pantawid-gutom, pero lalo na sa mga bata, buntis, nagpapasuso, may sakit at may edad, hindi pwedeng pantawid-gutom lang, kailangan may pampalakas,” she said.
Ready-to-eat meals, therefore, become ideal, because donors can include healthy ingredients. They don’t even need to have a long shelf life, according to GMA Kapuso Foundation executive director Jeffrey Balde.
“Usually, pagdating na pagdating dito, dispatch na agad yun para hindi masira,” he told GMA News Online, sharing that donuts, burgers, and chicken inasal were among the ready-to-eat food items that they’ve handed out.
Sandwiches without mayo and eggs
Cara Lim, a chef who prepared meals for Typhoon Ondoy relief, suggested that sandwiches are a good relief food because they are easy to make, easy to hand out, tasty, and can be loaded with nutritious ingredients.
“You can put anything in the sandwiches, just nothing with mayo, and nothing with eggs, because they spoil easily,” Lim said in an interview with GMA News Online, recommending adobo sandwiches, spinach and cheese, and BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato).
Aside from the mayo and eggs, those who want to donate sandwiches may also want to skip out on plastic sandwich bags and opt for a more environmentally friendly packaging like paper bags or table napkins.
Rice: staple food indeed
Aside from ready-to-eat meals, one can also donate raw ingredients for soup kitchens.
“Kung may nakakapagluto, mas maganda,” Asis said, highlighting the advantage of freshly-cooked meals as opposed to no-cook food.
“Siguro number one [na magandang i-donate] would be yung staple food natin—bigas,” Balde said, adding that their soup kitchen usually makes lugaw because it is the easiest and cheapest to make.
Other ingredients that are needed at soup kitchens include water, eggs, chicken, and condiments like patis. It would also be helpful to donate relevant non-food items like utensils, paper plates, cooking equipment and gas for stoves.
Other soup kitchens that are open for donations include Ping Medina’s Barangay Soup Kitchen and the Litro Soup Kitchen Project.
What not to give
Ultimately, relief efforts will welcome any kind of food—whether they’re home-cooked ready-to-eat meals or soup kitchen by-products.
“Kahit anong pagkain, masaya silang matanggap,” Balde said.
However, Asis warned against donating slow-cooking ingredients like monggo.
She also recommended against formula milk.
“Yung formula, hindi nirerecommend kasi kailangan siguradong malinis yung tubig at yung lalagyan, mahirap sa ganung situation,” she explained.
Asis said that for evacuees between 0 months to two years, breast milk would still be the best and safest option.
“Yung mga bata, dapat pinapasuso ng nanay. Pwede naman shinashare yung gatas, because yung milk ng isang nanay is more than enough for one day’s feeding,” she said. — ELR, GMA News
Talk of the web