MANILA –While some Miss Universe are enjoying the cool breeze and warmth of Cordillerans in Baguio City Wednesday, others are in Manila to support a non-government organization to help deliver around 3,600 meals to women in need.
At least 56 candidates gathered at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City to help non-government organization Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now) and the Department of Health (DOH) pack meals for pregnant, lactating women and their babies.
Rise Against Hunger Philippines Executive Director Jomar Fleras told reporters in an interview that the meals will benefit pregnant women who live in two pilot areas selected by the DOH namely Pampanga and Zambales.
These food pack meals will be provided to 50 nutritionally-at-risk women in Porac, Pampanga and another 50 nutritionally-at-risk women in Candelaria, Zambales.
Fleras said that the Rise meals are rice-based meals using iron-fortified rice, texturized vegetable protein, dehydrated vegetables and flavoring mix with added 23 essential vitamins and minerals.
Some meals packed by the candidates include chicken arroz caldo, beef congee, fish flakes, ginataan, and champorado.
The candidates, who wore hairnets and gloves while packing meals, said that they were humbled by the opportunity to help nutritionally-at-risk women especially as most if not all of them were no stranger to volunteer work.
DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said that the meals can help reduce low-birth weights, prematurity and stop malnutrition and stunting of children of the pregnant women beneficiaries.
Miss Philippines Maxine Medina, in an interview, said that joining the meal packing event was her way of “giving back” to poor communities raise the spirit of volunteering.
Among the candidates present in the event were Miss Argentina, Miss Austria, Miss Bahamas, Miss Belgium, Miss Belize, Miss Bolivia, Miss Brazil, Miss Virgin Islands, Miss Bulgaria, Miss Cayman Islands, Miss Chile, Miss China, Miss Costa Rica, Miss Croatia, Miss Curacao, Miss Czech Republic, Miss Dominican Republic, Miss Ecuador, Miss Georgia, Miss Germany, Miss Great Britain, Miss Guatemala, Miss Guyana, Miss Honduras, Miss Hungary, Miss Iceland, Miss Indonesia, Miss Angola, Miss Jamaica, Miss Kazakhstan, Miss Malaysia, Miss Mexico, Miss Myanmar, Miss Namibia, Miss Netherlands, Miss Nicaragua, Miss Nigeria, Miss Panama, Miss Paraguay, Miss Poland, Miss Portugal, Miss Philippines, Miss Russia, Miss Sierra Leone, Miss Singapore, Miss Slovak Republic, Miss Sri Lanka, Miss Switzerland, Miss Tanzania, Miss Turkey, Miss Ukraine, Miss Uruguay, Miss USA, Miss Venezuela, Miss Vietnam, Miss India.
Singer Gerald Santos serenaded the candidates as they packaged meals. He also closed the event with his rendition of Michael Jackson’s hit song “Heal the World” where he replaced the lyrics with “feed the world.”
Over 80 candidates are in the Philippines to attend pre-pageant activities leading up to the pageant finals which will be held at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on January 30.
The ladies have been to Boracay (January 14), Vigan (January 15), Cebu (January 17), and Baguio (January 18). They will also be visiting Batangas and Davao on January 19.
They will also be meeting Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in a courtesy call in Malacañang on January 23.