Filipina in UAE gets support to cook 10,000 free meals for people in need


A Good Samaritan in the UAE – who has been feeding hundreds of people in need every day – got a surprise from Emirates Loto on Saturday night: She didn’t win any prize, but the organisation will provide her with resources to cook another 10,000 meals for her personal initiative. 

Emirates Loto announced the support during its live draw, dedicating it to the Philippine Independence Day that was celebrated the day before on June 12.

The local hero, Filipina expat Feby Cacher Baguisa-Dela Peña, was also unemployed but that didn’t stop her from helping others.  

Every day since Eid Al Fitr, the mother of three has been taking out more than Dh500 from her own pocket to feed over 400 people, who have lost their jobs because of challenges arising from the pandemic. 

She buys over 50kg of rice, 60kg of chicken, and nearly 25 dozen eggs to cook two meals a day. People in need can pick up the food directly from her apartment, practising social distancing at all times. But for some expats who cannot afford to pay for transportation, Feby personally delivers the free meals to their homes in Dubai’s Satwa area.  

Feby calls her project ‘Ayuda’ (Filipino word for ‘help’), and it started when one day, she saw her fellow Filipinos queueing up for free food outside the building she was living in. She thought ‘what if it was her family who had lost their income to Covid-19?’ 

The next day, without hesitation, she took out her own family’s monthly allowance to start cooking free meals. And when her housemates learnt about her plan, they chipped in as well. Ayuda has been part of her daily routine since then. 

“Feby is, in all senses, a role model, and her generous act of kindness is now a source of inspiration for many across the globe,” said Paul Sebestyen, Emirates Loto’s CEO. Her generosity has been lauded in various publications across the world, from the Philippines to the US and Europe. 

“Her story resonated with all of us here at Emirates Loto and we knew that we had to support her initiative to ensure that it sustains and that those in need continue to be nourished every day. The world can use more Feby’s as she truly represents the best of us. We salute Feby for her altruism, sense of community, and changing the lives of those in need,” Sebestyen added.

Two winners share Dh1-million prize

During Emirates Loto’s draw on Saturday,  two lucky winners matched five out of the six numbers (18, 23, 27, 29, 43 and 49), walking away with Dh500,000each as they split the Dh1 million prize. 

Some 110 lucky players also collected a cash prize of Dh300 each and 2,900 entrants won a free entry to a future draw.

As there has been no winner for the jackpot to date, the Dh50 million grand prize still stands for the upcoming draw on Saturday,  June 20.

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