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Jakarta Post

Helping others: Manado LGBT community raises funds for COVID-19 food aid

Helping others: Manado LGBT community raises funds for COVID-19 food aid People prepare packages of food in April for distributing to people in need affected by the COVID-19 epidemic in Panjer subdistrict of South Denpasar, Bali. (Antara/Fikri Yusuf)
Agustinus Hari (The Jakarta Post)
Manado, North Sulawesi   ●   Mon, April 20, 2020 2020-04-20 13:27 392 fc6853813033f564188675f8bd300fad 1 National COVID-19-in-Indonesia,manado,North-Sulawesi,LGBT,donation,food-parcel,paket-sembako,sumbangan Free

The members of an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in Manado, North Sulawesi, have joined hands to raise funds and distribute relief aid to those affected by the local COVID-19 outbreak.

"A friend told us about the condition of residents who had been hit hard by the epidemic. Some residents even asked us to buy some food for them," LGBT activist Rajawali Coco told The Jakarta Post on Sunday in Manado.

So the community decided to start a fund-raiser on Facebook to buy basic goods for distributing to people in need. The initiative has received positive responses, especially from friends, families and colleagues.

Coco said that the community raised Rp 7 million (US$451) in cash transfers as soon as they started the fund-raiser.

On the first day of distribution shortly after receiving the donated funds, it delivered 10 packages of staple foods containing rice, cooking oil, canned fish, instant noodles and fresh eggs to 10 affected families.

"We are not [rich], in fact, we are also in need. However, we would like to share with those who have been affected by this difficult situation," said Coco.

He recalled how the story of an elderly woman who lived alone in a shack in Pineleng, Minahasa, went viral after members of the LGBT community visited to deliver some food to her. The viral post eventually caught the eye of the North Sulawesi Social Agency, which then visited the women to deliver aid.

As the community continued to receive donations from people of all walks of life, they drew up a list of people in need, especially the elderly and people who had not received any aid, said Coco.

"We have distributed the [donated funds] in the form of 50 packages of basic goods so far," he said. 

“The last 58 packages will be distributed on April 25," Coco said, adding that the fund-raiser was inclusive and nondiscriminatory, regardless of the donor's social or economical background. (trn)