In Kapampangan language, “Lugud Balen” means love of community.

These two words appropriately describe the movement initiated by 17 restaurant owners, chefs and volunteers in Pampanga to provide home-cooked meals to COVID-19 frontliners and poor families in Angeles City and other towns in Pampanga.

With the hashtag “Kitchens by the community, for the community,” Lugud Balen is a movement inspired by people who want to contribute in the fight against COVID-19.

“We believe that no matter how little, we can still make a difference. Basic ingredient is simply “lugud queng balen” which means love for community,” says its Facebook page.

Lugud Balen’s members include Josephine Concepcion-Mendoza of Tollhouse, Poch Jorolan of Everybody’s Cafe, International Skills Training Academy’s chef Chloe Cauguiran, Vince Garcia of Rainforest Kichene, Elsa Jocson of Lola Nors, Froi Cruz of Cioccolo, Arcelli Timbol of Village Chef, Ottie’s Sarah De Guzman, Pons Garcia of Taldawa, and Lai Mangio of Lailen’s together with Herminia De Guzman-Pamintuan, Joy Cruz, Krizia Chu-Tranquilino, Ditas Yap, Amos Rivera, Martee Gomez, Maya Nunag, and Jean Mactavish Mandap.

Meals by Lugud Balen movement are prepared by chefs from Pampanga.

As of April, the movement has collected over P2 million in cash donations, which translated to feeding over 40,000 frontliners and poor families in Pampanga.

Affordable fresh produce from community farms are brought to the communities.

An offshoot of the movement is Lugud Tanam, which means Plants of Love in Kapampangan. Its objective is to build sustainable community farms in Pampanga and let the community work together to harvest a variety of vegetables for the use of the community.

While Lugud Balen on Wheels supports and sustains the Lugud Tanam Project by bringing agriculture and aquaculture products to remote communities to provide them access to affordable and fresh farm produce. It also aims to encourage the communities to produce their own food through the Lugud Tanam Project, to make communities resilient, resourceful and sufficient in terms of sustainable food production.

The Philippine Army helps in the distribution of relief goods to poor communities in Pampanga.

The projects are done in partnership with 48 Infantry Guardian Batallion, 703rd Brigade, Tactical Operations Wings North Luzon Command, Philippine Air Force Reserve and Tibby’s Farm.

“Lugud Balen continues its work by building COMMUNITY FARMS of HOPE through its Lugud Tanam project. We aim to help our communities by growing their own food. We wish to ensure food security for our people especially during this pandemic wherein food scarcity is eminent.”

“We will be bringing our harvests to the communities through our Lugud on Wheels. We will also be trading with other community farms for other produce that we might need.”

If you want to know more about the movement and how to donate, visit Lugud Balen’s Facebook page.