As hospital workers fight to flatten the curve and treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients in the Philippines, it’s in these dire times that we, the general public, are called to offer any support that we can provide to those who are most vulnerable. Both local government units and the private sector have stepped up in this regard and have organized various efforts to aid frontliners, as well as the millions of marginalized Filipinos who lack provisions and proper security.
Among these efforts is a recently launched website called Help From Home (HFH), a platform that aggregates these many initiatives and separates them by beneficiaries and purpose. The efforts listed span from feeding frontliners to providing them with transportation, to funding COVID-19 tests, and to offering relief to families in need. This way, it would be easier for those who want to extend help to do so without having to break any self-quarantine guidelines.
To learn more about this platform and what we all can do to help, Preview reached out to the communication team behind Help From Home:
Can you tell us about the team? Who conceptualized Help From Home and how did you get others to contribute to the work?
Help From Home: Help from Home is a citizen-led information hub initiated by volunteer young professionals who wanted to aggregate information on the various Covid-19 efforts in a comprehensive list. We got people in our networks who were adept in various things: government relations, community organizing, digital media, branding experts, and communications strategists to form the initial core team and the team organically grew from there, in major part because friends of friends also would like bring their ideas, talents, and time.
At one point during the pandemic did you and your team decide that establishing Help From Home was necessary? How long did it take to organize until your launch date?
HFH: The private sector has driven remarkable initiatives in providing relief to those in most need and ordinary Filipinos have come forward in support of various initiatives for the frontliners and the people at risk. With the abundance of information out there, we simply wanted to streamline essential data to ensure efforts and their impact will be shared and maximized. It took two weeks of Zoom calls and nonstop Telegram messages till we launched and we’ve not stopped since.
It's mentioned on the site that Help From Home is developing a way to monitor the status of donations. In what format can we expect that in? Do you have a timeline for this?
HFH: We’re in close contact with LGU partners and hospitals and [we] aim to provide a real-time needs-based map to ensure that no one gets left behind. The information hub will not only contain donation opportunities but will also reflect the gaps that aren’t being filled in a vulnerable sector—i.e. this area has overflowing rice collections and needs more masks for residents and other similar scenarios. We’re currently on beta launch but we’re eyeing the next week or so for that roll-out.
Is this platform solely for the COVID-19 crisis? Or do you plan to use it for something else once the pandemic dies down?
HFH: At the moment, we’re focused on providing information for COVID-19 efforts. However, we are happy to explore how else we can evolve and work in other capacities. With the many generous and talented volunteers we have, the options are limitless!
Are there other ways, aside from donating, in which those at home can extend help to frontliners and those directly affected by the health scare?
HFH: We just launched on March 25, and are actively calling for volunteers to come help us in spreading the word, vetting organizations to be featured on the site, and getting all essential information the public would like to know regarding the ongoing efforts. It has never been more important to make a difference in the lives of our affected communities and we hope that many others, too, can extend that help even while at home.
Visit helpfromhome.ph for more information.
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