With several small food businesses having been affected during the pandemic, Erwan Heussaff came up with a way to help some of them with a means to earn while providing food to students and workers living in various dormitories across the Metro.
“I don’t think I need to tell you that 2020 has been a rough time so far for absolutely everyone around the world. From January, everything felt like a roller coaster that has been picking up speed and that still hasn’t reached its peak,” he said in his vlog.
Erwan, an entrepreneur himself, shared his realizations including what he would have done had he been in the same situation before.
“The economy in the Philippines is filled with small businesses and this is even truer when it comes to our food. Our favorite restaurants and bakers have experienced a tough couple of months and this will continue until the end of the year and beyond.”
He added: “This got me thinking: If I was in a situation back when I was starting my own businesses, I would probably be having a hard time. It’s hard not to feel helpless in this situation.”
So what Erwan did was he teamed up with an app called Lark that would help him support small food businesses — especially those struggling to keep everything afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Erwan initially wanted to donate cash to a specific food business, he came up with a better idea: a food drive that would support several businesses by funding two catering services to provide meals to workers in Metro Manila.
“We’re donating cash with a purpose. It keeps the business that’s going to use that cash to produce those meals afloat because they’re going to make profit from it. But they’re also going to be buying ingredients from a farmer’s market, from a sari-sari store, from the supermarket.”
He went on: “At least gives businesses to those people as well. And then it produces meals that are then going to be given away to workers that currently need it — keeping people fed, keeping people happy.
“What I love about this is that we won’t be able to measure the impact and the effects. It will affect and impact people that I will personally never meet. And I think that, for me, is a measure of success.”
One of the recipients was a company called CITIHUB — a company offering rent-free housing across different parts of Manila to workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic in need of food donations to feed them.
“You know after I got your message, I was like wow I couldn’t believe since a lot of them are still without work due to the pandemic. In the meantime, the least we can do is try to provide them with at least one meal a day,” said CITIHUB founder Panya Boonsirithum.
He added: “These are mostly blue-collar workers, so these are construction workers, security guards.”
Erwan then donated 300,000 each to Heaven’s Touch Cuisine and Pam’s Catering to produce meals for the tenants at various Citihub dormitories.
“It’s really a zero. We’re having a hard time in terms of finances,” Reggie said when asked about how his business went during the pandemic.
“Several bookings were cancelled due to the pandemic. It was hard at first because we were not allowed to go out until we decided to give out packed food to the frontliners,” Pamela Joy Abueg shared.
Then again, Erwan came and was able to help not just keep their food businesses running but also provide food for those in need during this pandemic.
Watch the video below:
Erwan Heussaff is currently in Australia with his wife Anne and daughter Dahlia Amelie.