IT can almost be universally agreed that 2020 has not been a good year but people, restaurants, and brands continue to help families celebrate the holidays despite the challenges posed by this year.

Here’s a short list of those who want to make Christmas merry for others.

In partnership with Bayanihang Marikenyo at Marikenya, the Maginhawa-based restaurant offering eclectic cuisine, will be sending sponsored Noche Buena Packages to families in Marikina affected by Typhoon Ulysses. The Noche Buena package costs P1,000, including a Rosemary and Garlic Roast Chicken, Baked Macaroni, and Fruit Salad; good for 6 to 8 persons. As of Dec. 14, according to a Facebook post, the group had received 200 pledges for the dinners. For more details, contact the restaurant at(02) 7211-1233 or 09953825736.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka has just launched its Food for Friends Program in the Philippines. Tito’s, based in Texas, is distributed in the Philippines by Liquor.PH.

The project aims to deliver over 300 free meals to food and beverage professionals affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The dinner distribution program is fueled by Love, Tito’s, the brand’s philanthropic arm. Participating restaurants include: Draft Gastropub, Wingman, and KAMPAI. All meals will be available for in-person pick up or delivery on Dec. 28 and 29. The distributor of Tito’s in the Philippines, Frank Kona Shrope of Liquor.PH, explained the reason for the project’s focus on the service industry.

“Many of us forget that the service industry is a relationship-based business. At the end of the day we have to help each other out, especially in times like this. When bars and restaurants started shutting down across Manila as early as March, I started worrying about the people who always took care of my friends and I. I have come to personally know so many workers in the industry who no longer have a stable income due to circumstances outside of their control. We know that a good meal doesn’t necessarily change those circumstances, but it is a concrete reminder that Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Liquor.PH have not and will never forget our service industry family.”

For interested parties, registration to get a free meal is now live through, and are advised to do so before Dec. 26. A second round for Tito’s Food for Friends program runs again in early 2021. — JLG