Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cherry Mobile in Cebu and Bohol: Compassion in Action

When the whole nation extended their condolences and empathy to the Visayans affected by the earthquake on October 15, 2013, Barangay Cherry Mobile extended their presence and let their very hands reach out to the affected families.

Cebu and Bohol had not yet fully recovered from aftershocks on October 17 when the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team of Cherry Mobile flew to Cebu City to complete the last leg of their preparations for the Disaster Response activity benefiting affected communities in Cebu and Bohol.

In Cebu, Cherry Mobile worked hand in hand with the Provincial Social Welfare Office (PSWO) of Cebu and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Regional Office for Region 7. They rallied their volunteers to help repack the goods purchased at Cebu into individual Cherry Mobile bags. Some of their staff also helped distribute the goods to the communities. PSWO and DSWD also provided the vehicles to transport the goods in the community.

Volunteers shared their time to help prepare goods for earthquake victims.

College students spent their time packing goods into sacks to be delivered to affected communities.

The staff of the Provincial Social Welfare Office (PSWO) smile in hope despite pressing times.

Volunteers from different sectors helped DSWD and Cherry Mobile pack the relief goods to be shipped to Bohol.

Many of the supermarkets and stores in Cebu remained closed during the week when the earthquake occurred; also, many of the working population were agitated by the earthquake experience. Thus, processing the goods from supermarket to the repacking site to individual bags took time beyond work hours. The staff had to stay even until night time to monitor the delivery of goods. Transporting the goods also entailed hours of travel on rough roads in a formidable weather. Distributing them was not limited to daytime, but even at night just to make sure that the residents receive the goods as soon as it arrived in the location. But all the tiring work and long travel did not stop these volunteers to contribute their part in making sure that help goes straight to the communities.

At the DSWD Field Office-7, repacking continued day and night in order to complete enough supplies for shipping to Bohol beneficiaries.

During the disaster relief operation, Cherry Mobile bags contained ready to eat food and a bottle of water, since many of the water pipelines and wells were destroyed by the earthquake. DSWD Staff took charge of repacking until midnight to meet their target (10,000 sacks of goods per day to be delivered in Bohol)

Even at night time, staff from the PSWO office helped distribute the goods to families affected by the landslide in Boljoon.

Barangay Cherry Mobile was able to help about 3,000 families in Cebu and Bohol by means of relief packs. Around 1,250 bags of goods (rice and groceries) were given for distribution in Cebu while more than 1,650 goods were transported to municipalities and barangays in Bohol. Barangay Cherry Mobile distributed the goods to 500 families at the Mandaue city market, where the market collapsed, and one vendor died while others were injured and displaced from their stalls.

Recipients of food packs from the Mandaue market gladly receive five kilos of rice and a bag of ready-to-eat food.

Residents of Boljoon, Cebu, which is a three-hour travel away from Cebu City, also received goods from Barangay Cherry Mobile.  Boljoon residents suffered from a landslide as a result of the earthquake.

Boljoon residents gratefully received the goods from Cherry Mobile.

With the help of our PSWO and Boljoon Municipal Social Welfare & Development staff, Barangay Cherry Mobile was able to respond first to these communitiesahead of other aid-giving organizations. In Bohol, residents in Danao received food packs from Barangay Cherry Mobile. The CSR team together with some DSWD staff had to travel five hours to reach the municipality of Danao because the normal route which takes only an hour and a half has been largely affected by the earthquake. The remaining goods which are endorsed to PSWO for Cebu and DSWD Regional Office were to be distributed to the residents in severely affected communities.

Hundreds of  Danao residents immediately lined up to receive goods upon hearing that it has arrived at the municipal hall at around 9PM.

Many of the volunteers are also victims, like this municipal social worker who just came out of the hospital only to help give out relief goods until midnight.

It is easy to have compassion for those who lost their loved ones, their homes, their businesses, and a part of their cultural heritage. One can just wonder how one could sleep peacefully in a land that shakes violently every so often, let alone thinking about how to rebuild a shattered house, and lift up a downcast family. But being where they are and experiencing even just a bit of what they have experienced on that doomed day when the earthquake struck, and seeing personally the damages brought by nature gave a whole new perspective on their condition. And being able to personally hand out some goods and give a smile to the discouraged locals meant a whole lot of difference. This risk-taking effort is a symbol of Barangay Cherry Mobile’s commitment to help those who need help the most, even if at times it would require going out of the comfort zone, both literally and figuratively.

The CSR team together with the volunteers endured lengthy rough roads (five hours of travel to target area), tormented by painful sun rays at noontime and heavy rains in the night—wet and chilled, stuck in slippery roads and suffered from dry cough brought by dusty roads. To deliver the relief goods on time, they must keep going and ignore hunger and thirst, unexplainable body pains and sleepless nights due to a series of aftershocks with a magnitude of up to 5.2 and no electricity nor a comfort room for an aching stomach.

All those challenges were surpassed with an end in mind that the CSR team could help rekindle the shattered hopes and dreams of thousands of families who were victims of tragedy. The bottom line of our initiative is to express our company’s great concern to those who were afflicted by the disaster so that they will feel that indeed, Cherry Mobile CARES…

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