When the rain showed no signs of stopping, Jenni Epperson, mom of two, celebrity stylist, author and award-winning lifestyle blogger went to her kitchen and started to cook.
“I believe that charity begins at home. Initially, I cooked for the families of my household help and the staff of the building I live in.”
It was a good thing her kitchen was well-stocked. “I cooked whatever was in our pantry. I’m glad Argentina Corned Beef and Century Tuna gifted me with boxes full of canned goods so I made corned beef arroz caldo, tuna fried rice, Vienna sausage omelette, steamed rice.”
Realizing she had more to spare, Jenni decided to share her food with others in need. She posted on Twitter, “Who needs cooked relief food? I want to donate.”
Her friends Tim Yap and Patricia Hizon responded quickly. “They organized the pickup and distribution of the food.”
And Jenni kept cooking. Even her daughter Aryanna helped out, by baking pink cupcakes for kids who need to be cheered up. “My kitchen is always busy. My husband Tom and I are hands-on when it comes to nurturing our family so we cook our meals every day. Now that we started cooking relief food for the flood survivors, we’re officially a satellite “soup kitchen” for those in need.”
Jenni didn’t stop there. Wanting to encourage her blog readers and Twitter followers to do the same, she shared relief food recipes and ideas for eco-friendly food containers on Twitter, Instagram and www.JenniEpperson.com.
She said, “We don’t always have to do grand gestures, especially when you have your own family to take care of, but we must get involved in helping out.”
It worked. Soon, her readers were cooking in their own kitchens to help nearby villages. @CharmLaconico posted this tweet: “@JenniEpperson cooked and packed food with my kids too! Inspired by you ;)”
Jenni said, “I think social media is phenomenal that way. The fact that by sharing photos and updates, my family could inspire people to cook for our fellow countrymen in need during this time of calamity and devastation is just amazing.”
It has been days since she started, but Jenni doesn’t plan to stop soon. “It’s hard to sleep when you know there are people out there stranded in deep waters with no food, water or any kind of help.”
When asked how long she intends to continue this project, she said, “’Oplan Luto-lutuan’ is just my family’s way of helping out—cooking meals for those in need. Our kitchen is open 24/7 to the needy.”
She added, “They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. In that case, ours is bursting with love!”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.