First-year students serving up smiles one plate at a time
“If you want to eliminate hunger, everybody has to be involved.” – Bono
When hospitality management first-year students Trisha Deleña, Denver Germanes, Billy Huertas, and Aubrey Neis learned that Marikina’s District 1 needs a program to help feed kids in the community, they did what any concerned citizen would do: Serve.
Inspired Deleña, Germanes, Huertas, and Neis sought help from city councillor Architect Randy Banzon who pointed them to a community that needs help in providing proper nutrition to a group of school children.
As early as 4 a.m. during weekends, the group can be found preparing home-cooked meals of pan de sal and sopas, or a plate of pancit, or tapsi rice bowls for kids in their headquarters and pre-packing them ready to be handed out. Since then the group knew, it’s a start towards change.
What started as a school requirement for their Micro perspective subject in Hospitality and Management became an advocacy plan. Plated Happiness has since doubled in volunteers who are willing to spare their weekends to plate hot meals. The program aims to not only improve the kids’ health but also to improve classroom attendance and performance.
The freshmen credit their dean and mentor Katherine Cadalo who encouraged and supported her students to find ways to help out in their communities through volunteerism. “I fell in love with the idea of being able to put a smile on people’s lips and joy in their hearts,” said Neis.
It also brought a whole new meaning to penny-pinching to the group. “Na-realize namin sobrang privileged na pala kami. Madami na kaming mga bagay na-take for granted. Naging mas matipid na kami. We [now] spend our money wisely. Instead of buying something i-set aside namin ang money for the next [feeding] session. We are thankful for the blessings at na-appreciate lahat ng bagay meron kami,” Neis said who spoke on behalf of her group mates.
Plated Happiness wants to go beyond just feeding, but it aims to spread awareness in communities and put a spotlight on issues that need our attention. For these first-year students, it’s a step towards gaining consciousness on the difference, no matter how little it may be, that anyone can make with a simple good deed.
Good deeds did wonders for everyone. For Neis, it’s more than just nourishing the bodies of these kids, but it uplifts everyone’s soul.
“We just knew that this isn’t just what we want to do for a semester. We want to continue it as long as we can and contribute to the advancement of humanity. To be able to help out is enough to nourish our souls. Masarap sa feeling. Magaan.”