How Mikaela Martinez Supports Kindness Movements During COVID-19

We hear disheartening news every day because the truth is, all our lives have been turned upside down because of COVID-19. But in between the tears and the uncertainties, we find stories that will make us see the beauty in tragedy. One of these stories is about someone who decided to let COVID-19 be an opportunity instead of a setback. I met Mika Martinez four years ago. We had been pregnant with our youngest boys at roughly the same time. I knew her as a pretty face and a kind smile. For most, you would know her as a social media influencer, a model, or an entrepreneur. I’ve gotten a chance to know her as a good friend in the year. And this 2020, I’ve seen her as a genuine inspiration. When the enhanced quarantine happened, a lot of people were confused, distraught, and devastated. It was a valid reaction, we were in a state of calamity. But despite all the problems that began popping out, I saw people rising to do their small part to help. I think that’s one of the biggest blessings COVID-19 has brought to our hearts–the desire to help. So as I watched Mika and her friends successfully grow their cause, being able to share more than 1,000 relief packages to their surrounding communities. I decided to write about it because I believe their story could also be YOUR story of being the silver lining in the lives of those who live and work in communities around you.

How Mika Martinez Supports Kindness Movements During COVID-19

What’s the story behind this initiative? How did you think of it? Who are the people involved?

Initially, Mika’s focus was relief efforts for hospital frontliners. She would check social media posts and send messages to doctors themselves to verify and ask what they needed. She would find suppliers online for masks and would buy what was available to send out as her own personal donation.

Before her first run, she and her friend Sarah Lahbati were in contact. Sarah and the Gutz family had a relief effort run called “Laban Sa COVID”. Since the two were already in contact almost every day, they decided to get some work done together.

“Sarah and I started on a relief drive together for Ospital ng Muntinlupa, Las Piñas Hospital, all within their vicinity- checking on the hospital's needs, sourced and purchased what was needed and sent them all."

She and Sarah would continuously look for suppliers, remained in touch with hospitals and eventually partnered up with Micah and Steven Chase, one of their pastors at New Life. Micah and Steven would personally go to military checkpoints and deliver meals. She and Sarah were inspired by this and decided to split their personal cash along with her friends who wanted to send in their donations as well.

Then, a message came in from Bianca Salaveria.

“I received a message from Bianca Salaveria of a community with a photo of a tricycle driver holding up a sign "Nagugutom na kami!". Bianca stood by the gate of Dela Roma, BF Homes, Paranaque and the rest is history."

With over 500 families, Dela Roma is an area in BF where most of the tricycle drivers and kasambahay live. These are daily wage earners that needed their help.

Previously, she posted a video about the happiness that tricycle rides bring her son, Maxen. She realized that if we are affected by the no work, no pay situation–what more with them? Who will they run to?

We worked together with only about 10,000 pesos from our own pockets then an additional donation of goods from Sarah and some of Bianca’s friends. We prepared packages for only 50 tricycle drivers which included rice, noodles, sardines, corned beef and milk.

How does the whole system work?

After seeing more of people going hungry, we increased the packages to serve 150. After that, so many friends and followers reached out to help! This included Patty Galang, the designer of Synelabel. We would shop separately at the grocery, drop, and repack at my house with my staff then both my car and Patty's to deliver the relief. Then, we would transport the packed bags to Bianca's for distribution.

Things got bigger when she got a call from Garlic Garcia saying that she felt so moved to help their efforts! Some of Garlic’s best friends from overseas, celebrities and common friends started ordering truckloads of groceries to cover a few more runs! Even in between, they had strangers chipping in to help them create even more packages than what we intended to!

What were some of the challenges?

This was not all a bed of roses. All their movements were limited because of the virus. They were not able pack and distribute together. However, they felt lucky that we were able to directly order from suppliers of canned goods. Rice and eggs were picked up from the market with companies helped them out with bulk buying. Additionally, South Supermarket came to the rescue and delivered in bulk!

What’s the story behind this initiative? How did you think of it? Who are the people involved?

"I think it's best to have a team. There needs to be deligation of work so that we move less and remain efficient. With funds and bigger amounts, you have to remain transparent and update them. It's your responsibility."

What was the biggest lesson from all this?

"I imagine myself being in another person's shoes--what if I was that child running on the street? What if I was that lady lining up to get food? How would I feel? What would I do? What would I say? That's why I found the need to help. Well whatever it is... I just know that when God is in control, everything falls into place. No accidents."

How are you spreading kindness during this time? Let us know below!

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