SOS Philippines celebrates its 2023 operations of serving over 1M meals, reducing food waste, and combatting hunger

by Ricky Rillera

SOS Philippines’ Managing Director, James Leyson, serving a nutritious meal made from good quality surplus food | Photo SOS

MARIKINA, Philippines – “The food security crisis in the Philippines has been a long-standing problem, with millions of children going hungry due to poverty and lack of access to food,” said Scholars of Sustenance (SOS) Philippines, an environmental non-profit organization, that rescues good quality surplus food to make nutritious meals available for the most vulnerable communities.

​In 2023, SOS reported that its first full year of rescue operations in Greater Manila had served more than 1 million meals, exceeding expectations.

They partnered with hotels, manufacturers, and corporations, which donated food, offered corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, and contributed financially.

“This collective effort has enhanced the ability of SOS Philippines to address food waste and food security on a larger scale,” SOS said.

SOS also received a generous donation of three vehicles – an essential asset for its efficient food rescue operations. Allianz PNB, Ford Philippines, and CGI Philippines allowed SOS Philippines to expand its reach and impact.

In addition, they collaborated with the Gokongwei Group’s retail arn where SOS Philippines onboarded its Robinsons Supermarket. They worked towards innovative solutions to combat food waste and hunger, leveraging their combined resources and expertise.

SOS Philippines has also partnered with the Quezon City local government, implementing a food rescue ordinance.”This initiative reflects SOS’s commitment to influence policy that can have a lasting impact on reducing food waste at a local government level,” SOS said.

SOS Food Rescue Ambassadors at work delivering vegetables to their pioneer community partner in Tondo | Photo via SOS Philippines

To continue with its mission, SOS has 80 community partners who have played a crucial role in the success of its food rescue operations. With proper training, SOS said, they have been hands-on in converting surplus food into nutritious meals to provide food to the food insecure in their communities.

SOS utilizes a fully operational kitchen space provided by a Ford Global grant, where they run SOS’s rescue kitchen programs for CSR activities to create sustainable solutions for food surplus. Century Pacific is one of its top donors of surplus food ingredients, which help them prepare meals for distribution. This was complemented by volunteer chefs, community volunteers, and corporate volunteers who contributed to curbing food waste and serving food-vulnerable individuals.

Globe’s Hapag Movement was also instrumental in SOS mastering the Rescue Kitchen operations with Canva and Foodpanda employees as regular program volunteers.

“SOS Philippines remains committed to its mission of rescuing surplus food, reducing environmental impact, and providing meals to those in need,” SOS said.”

“As Scholars of Sustenance Philippines looks back on a year of achievements, we eagerly anticipate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in our continued efforts to create a hunger-free and sustainable Philippines,” said SOS Philippines’ Managing Director, James Leyson.

Scholars of Sustenance is a global food rescue foundation. It has offices in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines and relies on its partners, donors, and sponsors of its programs.

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