Meal box for a cause: New Brunswick social enterprise supports the Philippines in typhoon relief

In the past two months, the Philippines has been hit by a succession of devastating typhoons. On October 25, Typhoon Molave hit causing flooding, followed by Typhoon Rolly on November 1 which caused flooding, and storm surge, as well as land, mud and rock slides. The latest, Typhoon Ulysses, hit on November 11 and badly flooded the Luzon area, leaving thousands of people homeless and posing a challenge for the economy with more than $162 million Canadian dollars worth of infrastructure damage.

A business in New Brunswick is hoping to do what they can to help. Sankara is a Saint John-based social enterprise which operates an Online Multicultural Marketplace.

“The support from people in New Brunswick can make a difference for those struggling in the Philippines and good food will be what makes that happen. We are working with our Filipino Partner Chef Irene Mangubat on our “Meal Box for a Cause” fundraiser. We will be donating ten percent of the proceeds from our Filipino Meal Boxes to a relief operation called Bangon Luzon,” says Kyle Tomagan an employee at Sankara.

Tomagan added that the campaign will run until December 31, and as part of the company’s commitment to transparency, receipts of the donation will also be posted on Instagram and Facebook on December 31.

Sankara is on a mission to build more culturally empathetic communities and we believe that putting cultural products in the spotlight is an effective way to achieve that goal. Their services allow consumers to conveniently access authentic cultural services and products by local cultural vendors in various cities. Since starting in 2017, Sankara has been continually expanding and now offers services to Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John and, most recently, Halifax.

When you order online with Sankara, they contract a delivery service to get your order to you. Orders are made between Monday and Saturday and are delivered on Sunday afternoon. The meal box program generally offers five-meal packs that start at $59.

Sankara is particularly inspiring, because not only have they been promoting multiculturalism and helping to support their vendors’ livelihoods, they have been able to pivot and grow even through the pandemic. As vendors lost their regular restaurant and market orders during the pandemic, they were able to switch to the online portal. “Not only that, but all of the “Partner Chefs” utilize local licensed kitchen facilities or restaurants to prepare their orders. The Partner Chefs and delivery assistants are taking special precautions due to Covid-19, to ensure all food is prepared and delivered safely”, says Tomagan.

In addition to their meal boxes, Sankara also offers catering, jewellery and crafts, and cultural events. If you want to buy local and stay away from crowds this holiday season, you can order their products and have them delivered to friends and family who live in the cities that Sankara services.

Amy Floyd lives in Taymouth, NB and works for the RAVEN Project (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment) on food security. She also runs the Permaculture Atlantic Network. 


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