Having an empty stomach without any means to get food was a struggle this family in Agusan del Sur went through.

Seeing their neighbors suffer the same ordeal at the time of the pandemic, a family beneficiary of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) has exhausted its savings to give them food.

“There was a time when Salvador almost lost consciousness because of too much hunger, because we could not afford to buy rice and all we had were some root crops for that day),” 55-year-old Alicia, whose surname was not disclosed, said in a post shared by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday.

The family once farmed a land it owned but had to leave to a more populated barangay as rebel insurgency threatened the house members’ lives and livelihood.

In their new home in Barangay Balit, Agusan del Sur, the land was not as fertile so they were not able to continue their small farming business.

Alicia and her husband Salvador soon became recipients of 4Ps and have sent their children to school through the monthly educational stipend.

They were able to save some money from working jobs, she said.

The couple arranged a giveaway to some 240 indigent households in their barangay with four kilograms of rice.

“It is easier to find viand but rice is hard to come by so we decided to give it to them,” Alicia said in the vernacular.

Their third child, Dorelyn, who now works as a caregiver in Hong Kong, found a second job and financed for her family’s charity.

“We do not have a lot of money but we shared what we can because we know how it feels to be hungry as a family. We experienced this before and I know how it feels when your family has nothing to eat, or even buy rice,” she said.

The DSWD lauded their activity and recognized them as community partners.

“Even in this time of pandemic, the family truly portrayed the heart of giving back with sincerity, and the compassion of being a kaagapay ng pamayanan (community partners). Truly a story worth sharing during these trying times,” they said in a post.

As of January 31, 2020, 4P’s has already served 5,066,899 poor households nationwide since the program was started in 2008 by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. (Christine Cudis, PNA)

Top photo: DSWD Caraga