Amid these most challenging times, businesses can only do so much to help those in need.
But a group of Chinese businessmen was able to conquer these challenges by establishing the Love Plus Charity Foundation to reach out and extend assistance to the affected sector.
During an interview made by the Daily Tribune on its live public service webcast “Kalingang Katribu,” Wow Cow Group Inc. chief executive officer and Love Plus Charity Foundation president William Chen said the group was able to donate some P30 million worth of food and medical supplies to the front liners.
“We are in the restaurant business so we have plenty of food that could go to waste when the Enhanced Community Quarantine lockdown was announced on 16 March. Instead of the food going to waste, we decided to distribute them for free to the front liners and poor communities in Metro Manila,” Chen said.
Self-made front liners
“Actually, we started doing the relief efforts on 15 March, a day before the government announced the travel restrictions. You can consider us as front liners in the fight against the negative impact of the COVID-19,” he shared.
Before the pandemic, the Wow Cow chain of restaurants employed more than 600 Filipino workers, Chen said. Currently, the number of personnel went down by 50 percent of the pre-COVID-19 level.
“Either we reduce the number of our employees or shut down completely,” he lamented.
“But that is the least on our minds. We understand the predicaments of our personnel to keep their jobs. It would be more difficult for them if we close shop. We find ways to keep our operations afloat so we can continue providing employment,” Chen said.
All of Wow Cow’s personnel are now temporarily housed at the Wow Cow building “to minimize outside contact” with the public and to maintain physical distancing. In addition, they undergo regular medical check-ups to make sure they are healthy and are not infected with the virus.
“Healthy employees translate to zero possibility of transmission to our customers,” he stressed.
According to Chen, their efforts to distribute PPE, alcohol, masks, gloves and shields to the health workers gained the attention of many Chinese businessmen in the country.
Soon, the group of concerned Chinese businessmen started receiving donations, which eventually allowed them to formally organize the Love Plus Charity Foundation.
To date, the group estimates to have provided relief to nearly 50,000 families, 50 hospitals and 400 police checkpoints in several cities under government-imposed lockdown measures.
Aside from food packs, some 487 Chinese organizations and individuals have made donations to the foundation, consisting of P6 million in cash, 3,144 boxes of surgical masks, 1,340 sets of PPE, 2,000 sets of rapid test kits, baby essentials like milk and diaper.
Meanwhile, Hu Sun, founder of the foundation, said they wanted to reach out to the remote areas, which prompted more people to donate to the objective of the Love Plus Charity Foundation.
“We are not brothers by blood, but we think of Filipinos as being part of our family, because they welcomed us with open arms. I think it’s time for us to return the favor and provide assistance in any way we can because that’s what a family does. They help each other get through the rough times,” Hu Sun said.
When a Chinese medical team first arrived in the country to provide its expertise to avert the spread of the dreaded virus, the foundation assisted by coordinating with the concerned local health care officials to ensure that the services of the group will reach the targeted sector.