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Student launches fund drive for 80-year-old apron vendor





An 18-year-old student from Caloocan City has launched a fundraising drive for an 80-year-old man selling kitchen aprons on the streets to help him tide over the COVID-19 crisis.

AJ Mirandilla said that since he started his drive on Oct. 1, several individuals and organizations have already reached out to him to extend assistance to octogenarian vendor Fred “Tatay Romie” Cinco.

He’s doing this even though he barely knew him.

His campaign drive appears to be successful as they already received grocery packages, fruits, vegetables, kilos of rice, and a wheelchair.

From financial assistance entrusted to him, Mirandilla said, they were also able to buy a mobile phone for Tatay Romie’s family and a pocket WI-FI for his four grandchildren who are attending online classes.

“May mga pumupunta na rin po ng bahay nila para mamakyaw ng aprons nila,” Mirandilla told the Manila Bulletin-Tempo, adding that they also plan to make some renovations on Tatay Romie’s house, thanks to donation made by several donors.

As of Wednesday, Mirandilla said, they already generated some P50,000 just a week after launching his drive. He has also been making daily updates on his Twitter account for transparency.



When Mirandilla saw a Facebook post made by Diana Lao asking for help for Tatay Romie on Sept. 29, he immediately reached out to the latter and asked if she knew his house.

“Sabi ko po parang kilala ko to. Lagi kong nadadaanan sa overpass kapag pumapasok,” he said.

Mirandilla then found Tatay Romie’s house in Camarin on October 1; and after finding out what he needed, he launched a fundraising drive for the latter on Twitter.

Since then, Mirandilla said, they have been going to Tatay Romie’s house everyday to bring him assistance from several individuals and organizations.

Tatay Romie is usually seen at a footbridge in Zabarte Road in Caloocan, selling about a hundred aprons made from fabrics they buy, under the heat of the sun.

Before the lockdown, Mirandilla said, Tatay Romie was joined by his 70-year-old wife, Corazon, and would reach provinces as far as Laguna to sell their products worth P50 each.

They do this to support their son, who only depends on raising and selling pigeons as a source of income, as well as four grandchildren, who are all minors.

Following the crisis and the lockdown due to COVID-19, Tatay Romie’s income significantly dropped. He did not also get any assistance from the Department of Social Welfare’s Social Amelioration Program since his family is already receiving aid under the 4Ps program, Mirandilla added.

Mirandilla said that Tatay Romie is beyond grateful to all donors who have extended assistance to him. For those who want to help Tatay Romie may reach Mirandilla through his Twitter account @ajmirandilla_ or cellphone number 09151675506.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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