The Meal to Heal Initiative was created in late March and launched in April 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 crisis in New York City. We watched the red dots on the maps swell, and we heard the sirens rush to help our neighbors. By mid-April, Queens was the borough with the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout NYC, with Elmhurst Hospital at the epicenter.

A half a mile away from the hospital is Woodside, Queens, also known as Little Manila. Filipino businesses—especially restaurants—were hit hard. Most restaurants closed, and the ones that stayed open layed off many of their staff and learned to adapt to the “new normal.”

Living within the diasporic history that brought care laborers from the Philippines to the United States, we know that Filipino workers are a key demographic doing the essential work that continues to feed, comfort, clean, and heal the city throughout and beyond this crisis.

Through these efforts, we not only sought to feed healthcare workers but to also support the brick-and-mortar businesses that make up Little Manila, the heart of the NYC Filipino community. With every delivery, we continue to deepen our relationships with Philippine businesses and healthcare workers, but also grow friendships with inspiring people who are doing important work.




Mutual Aid, Social Practice


Maria Bustamante

Rocco Cetera

Azrael Dean

Xenia Diente

Berna Ellorin

Michael Garrovillas

Julie Jamora

AnneMarie Ladlad

May Madarang

Yukari Niikura


Little Manila Queens Bayanihan Arts

National Alliance for Filipino Concerns

This project was made possible by the individual donors to the effort, as well as The Laundromat Project.

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