SM Foundation (SMFI) distributed 58,100 Kalinga packs worth Php 26.5 million to transport groups and communities across the country through its Operation Tulong Express (OPTE) program.
The distribution of Kalinga packs, each containing rice and other food essentials, aims to relieve the plight of those whose livelihoods came to a grinding halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through Operation Tulong Express, 144 jeepney transport groups, 61 UV express transport groups, and 94 tricycle transport groups, and 46 communities/barangays received Kalinga packs.
SMFI tapped SM Malls and SMDC employees in order to reach out to more transport groups and communities all over the country, to promote the spirit of volunteerism within the SM Group.
Leonardo Taguiam, a jeepney driver in Tuguegarao, expressed his gratitude to SM Foundation as the Kalinga packs were a big help for them. He shared that during the implementation of the nationwide transport shutdown, his family was just relying on his wife who was lucky enough to remain employed despite the crisis.
Another recipient, Nanay Salvacion, from Imus, Cavite, said, “Napakalaking tulong nito sa amin. Hindi naman kami basta-basta makakakuha ng pambili nito lalo na ngayong pandemic. Kaya maraming salamat sa SM dahil naglalaan kayo ng panahon para sa aming nangangailangan ng tulong [This is a big help for us. The pandemic made it hard for us to earn. We thank the SM for their effort to help those in need].”
Operation Tulong Express (OPTE) is a social good program of SM Foundation in collaboration with SM Supermalls and SM Markets that provides relief and support in communities affected by calamities and crisis. Since 2014, the program has distributed over 260,200 Kalinga Packs (relief packs) nationwide.