The two-way street of ARMY Bayanihan’s Cagayan Food Rescue

ARMY Bayanihan, a group of #PearlARMY volunteers supporting Philippine Local Farmers through charity events, has launched a progressive two-prong project called Cagayan Food Rescue.

The concept aims to support the livelihood of farmers in Cagayan, who have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the same time, stop food shortage by donating the crops to communities in need in other parts of the country.

ARMY Connect PH spoke with ARMY Bayanihan’s project head Lev Alcala, editor-in-chief and auditor Lara Veloso, secretary Joselyn Bernabe, and co-secretary Lou Vinluan to share with #PearlARMY about this noble and sustainable initiative.

ACPH: Tell us about the Cagayan Food Rescue. What is it all about and what is its purpose?

Lev: There is an oversupply of crops in Cagayan right now. Tonnes of unsold crops going to waste due to the pandemic. Because of it, the price of the crops has fallen to Php3.00/4.00 per kilo and that’s when we knew we had to take a step. We launched the Cagayan Food Rescue to help the farmers and reduce the problem of oversupply of their crops. #PearlARMY can show support to the Cagayan farmers by buying their crops, which in turn will be donated to Albay communities and other beneficiaries in need.

ACPH: How and when did you come up with the idea for Cagayan Food Rescue?

Lev: ARMY Cavite reached out to us for partnership for the “Micasa: Pagtulong Sa Mga Tahanan” project in Tiwi, Albay, to give relief goods to those affected by consecutive typhoons last year. That time, we had an ongoing rescue buy operation named “The Grand Bagsakan,” in partnership with Mayani, a social enterprise supporting Filipino farmers. From there, we decided to extend it for the Micasa Project and launched the Cagayan Food Rescue last April 7. Mayani is currently helping us transport the crops from Cagayan to Albay. 

ACPH: Who are the beneficiaries of this project and how can #PearlARMY help? 

Lev: The 100+ households in Tiwi and Camalig, Albay, from under the Micasa Project in partnership with ARMY Cavite and ARMY Albay, will benefit from the donated vegetables. These households are victims of the consecutive typhoons last year who still haven’t risen up. 
We are targeting over 1 tonne of vegetables to be transported in the area.

#PearlARMY can support the project here: 

ACPH: Please tell us about your organization ARMY Bayanihan. How and when was is it founded? What are your goals and objectives?

Lara: ARMY Bayanihan was founded last April 2020. The team consists of different #PearlARMY whose passion is to help others especially during the start of the pandemic. Together, these individuals  started a fundraiser to provide relief to the families affected by the pandemic and promote our bayanihan culture. Aside from breaking the stigma that comes with being fans of BTS, we also aim to raise awareness about the state of our nation’s agricultural sector and help them grow economically. We also aim to promote bayanihan not only in the Philippines but in different countries as well because we believe that teamwork makes the dream work.

ACPH: Do you any message to fellow #PearlARMY about your projects?

Joselyn: Even if we’re generalized and labeled as the fandom that’s “crazy, toxic, and immature,” we’re also known as the strongest, most supportive, and most loving. We prove this all the time, most especially with our projects that support our fellow ARMY and non-ARMY as well. Kahit na “fans lang” tayo, [even if we’re just fans] we can contribute to the betterment of society because we have the teamwork to do so, kasi nga para sa atin, pamilya tayo [because we think of ourselves as family]. Kaya kung may gusto kang gawin para makatulong, go lang! [So if you have the heart and the drive to help, just go with it!] Magkakaroon din naman ng ripple effect ‘yan. May makakakita sayo at may makikinig sayo. [Your actions will have a ripple effect. Someone is bound to see and listen to your cause.] Sooner or later, you’ll see other ARMY working on the same cause as you and advocating for the same advocacy like you. Despite our interaction being limited to online platforms and the fact that we’re almost entirely strangers to one another, this does not omit the existing camaraderie that we’ve managed to build within our fandom.

ACPH: Given the chance that BTS gets to read about this project, what would you like to say to them about it? 

Joselyn: Of course, mere acknowledgement or knowledge of this project would be more than enough for us. We do this because of them and we would be ecstatic knowing that they know that as well. But if they do see this, then just like any other project, we hope they would be able to turn their eyes to our beneficiaries and see why we do what we can to help them. It’s more than just blatantly proving that we can do good but it’s about our passion to provide people what they need to stand back up on their feet again and live the life they always wanted to live. It may take a while but change and progress comes in small waves.

ACPH: What is your message for BTS on their upcoming 8th anniversary?

Lou: We would like to give our utmost gratitude and appreciation to BTS. Without them, there wouldn’t be an ARMY Bayanihan team. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our goals in life. Without them, we wouldn’t see that there is more to life than black and white. They made our lives feel euphoric and serendipitous whenever we are about to do something long-term, whether it would benefit only ourselves or everyone. They made us see and feel that it is okay to feel like our feelings are invalidated and that they are always there for us. They made us feel like we can do anything as long as we work as a team. As they said, teamwork makes the dream work. So, thank you, BTS, for giving us the opportunity to love ourselves and give love to those who need it too. There are no words to describe how much they have helped us. We love them more than love itself. We hope that BTS will always find their way to their magic shop as we have found ours. They were there when no one else was for us, truly they are our Moon, Lil Meow Meow, Mochi, Winter Bear, Golden Bun, Hope, and Moonchild. 💜

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