Filipino expat loses job, cooks free food to help people in need

  • 5 months   ago

Losing her job amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis did not stop a Filipina expat to continue helping people in her community by offering free food.

For Feby Cacher Baguisa-Dela Peña, a mother of three, having an empty pocket is not a hindrance to reach out to those in need.

The 34-year-old Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), is helping 200 people a day with her selfless efforts. She has been distributing food in Muraqqabat, Deira,a town in Dubai, without asking anything in return.

It all started during the Ramadan, when Dela Peña was observing her Kabayans (Filipino term for 'fellowmen)' while lining up for a free meal. She witnessed representatives of various non-profit organizations would drop off food packets for the needy in Deira’s Al Muraqqabat street. 




"My heart broke watching my fellow country men and women lining up in a queue for a free meal," she said.

The concerned citizen was in tears when she realized she must do something for them. This made her decide to make food for Filipinos in need.

She spent the allowance her husband gave her for home groceries they saved for a month. "I spent it all in one day and cooked for about 40 people on the first day of Eid," she noted.

According to her, more Filipinos heard about her charitable efforts and on the same day, 150 people requested for food from her.

What has become a humanitarian service during Eid holidays by local officials, has turned into a daily advocacy for Dela Peña, with many people are struggling due to unemployment in these uncertain times.

Her husband, Esperidion Jr. Artillaga Dela Peña, 35, was unaware that she had taken the allowance to prepare the free meals that she is giving to others. But, later on he found out and knew the reason why she did it.

"I am so grateful for his loving support and for letting me do this for our fellow Filipinos,” she stated.

Filipino dishes for free

Dela Peña prepares two popular Filipino dishes; chicken afritada and chicken adobo. She spends about Dh500 daily for the groceries used for cooking these meals.

The good samaritan paid for the ingredients from the allowance her husband gave me during Eid. But now, help has been pouring in from her friends and acquaintances, she disclosed.

Food preparation

Her husband cuts the chicken the previous night. The couple’s friends then help with chopping vegetables and cooking the rice in 5-6 separate cookers.

“A minimum of 25-kg rice, 30-kg chicken and 150 eggs among other ingredients go into preparing the dishes,” the Filipina expat said.

Since she has no available big rice cooker, she distributes the work among her friends. They all together cook the rice and mix it up with the sauce and ingredients that they prepare as side dishes.

Dela Peña is hoping her kids Felix, aged six, and Faustine, aged three, will learn to share when they grow up, considering their parents as good examples.

Her eight month old child, Flynn, according to her, is still too small to see the effort they are taking.

Packing and delivery of meals

Every day, Dela Peña's friends gather at her house to do the packing. She said people pick up the food from her apartment as they want to practice social distancing. They plan to drive next weekend down to Satwa to deliver free meals to reach out to more people.