Caress Banson helps underserved communities through the Feeding Metro Manila charity, which aims to alleviate hunger and promote zero-waste management amid food insecurity.
This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s September 2023 Issue.
In bustling Metro Manila, where the rhythm of life can often be relentless, there is a gentle touch that brings solace and sustenance to those who need it most. This nurturing force is embodied by Caress Banson of Feeding Metro Manila, a remarkable initiative that has dedicated itself to feeding the city’s underserved and poor communities, bringing about hope, compassion, and generosity.
Feeding Metro Manila (FMM) is a hunger relief charity that aims to alleviate hunger among the urban poor in Metro Manila where approximately 12 million people reside. Initially founded as a feeding program/soup kitchen type of project, it has now evolved to become a two-pronged advocacy of both hunger relief and zero waste management. After having cooked meals for hundreds of urban poor every day for almost 10 years now, FMM has decided to add a “zero-waste” angle to make the charity more sustainable.
In the face of food insecurity and environmental degradation, Banson and her team at FMM understand that a full stomach is not just a basic necessity, but a crucial foundation for a healthy, empowered life. Each day, their team of dedicated volunteers, fueled by the desire to make a difference, work tirelessly to prepare, cook and distribute nutritious meals to those in need.
SUSTAINABILITY FEEDS THE HUNGRY
Banson says, “Surveys show that the number of families experiencing hunger have been consistently increasing. I finally realized that I am faced with a problem I cannot solve. At the same time, records (from the MMDA and DENR) show that the Philippines produces 36 tons of garbage every day, and that 1/4 or 25% of that comes from Metro Manila. Every single day, Manila produces close to 9,000 tons of trash per day, half of which (4.5 tons), is waste from unsold food, food scraps, and left overs from meals. Clearly there was a readily available resource from such waste.”
“Sustainability is now the new name of the game. If we want what we do to last forever, it is important to find the means to make use of readily available resources to work for you. In the case of feeding and hunger relief, we cannot rely on donations. Dole outs will kill your charity,” she shares.
Banson adds, “So today, we collect unsold food from establishments, hotels, bakeries, markets and groceries to be distributed to different marginalized communities in MetroManila. With this arrangement, we have become more sustainable. Now, the urban poor are able to taste “branded” day-old goodies with hardly any cost to us. What could be potential waste is now our golden resource and we make so many happy.”
ART AS AN ADDED SOURCE OF INCOME
She also realizes that after doing this close to 11 years, the circle of friends and family can only donate so much. Banson knows she cannot keep on asking for free donations that is why they also came up with another regular form of income for FMM which is @caressbansonart where artworks are given in exchange for cash donations. That way, donors feel happy to give.
Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia September 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.
Photos by Kieran Punay of Kliq, Inc.