2013: Kindness In The Time of Disaster (Part 2 of a Five-Year Report)

In 2013, disaster struck the nation in the form of Typhoon Yolanda. It came in the wake of a devastating earthquake in Bohol. Needless to say, our countrymen needed help more than ever, and who better to do so than a century-old institution whose mission is to promote the health and well-being of children and mothers?

Gota de Leche’s call for help was met with an overwhelming response of charity and kindness from civic-minded organizations and generous individuals. It timed perfectly with the establishment of Gota’s Post-Disaster Relief and Nutrition Support Outreach program, which further cemented the institution’s regular and direct response to the needs of disaster-stricken locations all over the country.

Some of the benefactors who were quick to respond included Ms Ninotchka Rosca and AF3RM New York-New Jersey, the NY-NJ Fil Commission, Ms Pauline Gorriceta Banusing, Ms Suzette Severo Doctolero, and private donors from GMA 7. Many other contributed in cash, kind, and manpower to help pack relief goods, including medication, materials for temporary shelters, and hygiene packs. Even more donations from abroad were collected to help the victims of the Bohol earthquake. All in all, Gota de Leche’s typhoon relief operations managed to reach six provinces, including Iloilo, Palawan, Capiz, Samar, Leyte, and Biliran Island. The estimated number of those who benefited directly from the Post-Disaster Relief program is around 2000 families.

In the same year, Gota de Leche was also going through corporate restructuring and other changes to meet modern-day demands. Another successful program, this time targeted at the mothers of Gota’s young beneficiaries, came in the form of the Support for Breastfeeding Moms program. Breastfeeding mothers of qualified children are given monthly rations of brown rice and mung beans in order to improve their health and add nutritive value to their breast milk.

The institution also underwent a much-needed contemporary re-branding in 2013, which included a new logo, a new website and social media page, and new collateral materials to broaden its reach. At the same time, Gota acquired new personnel and equipment, as well as a certificate of registration from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

It was in 2013 when concerted action showed that while the Philippines is no stranger to calamities, it isn’t a stranger to acts of kindness, either.