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Jesus, the jeepney operator, takes the wheel

/ 04:15 AM November 08, 2020

Four-year-old Julianna’s lasagna, created to help her “lolo” recover from business challenges brought about by the pandemic. With a little help from her mom! —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Jesus Cañeso is a jeepney operator who suddenly found himself with no more jeeps to operate when the enhanced community quarantine was declared.

Instead of sitting idly by or feeling sorry for themselves, his family and some of the families of the jeepney drivers decided to use their time to help others. Jesus, true to his name, made an effort to reach out to the drivers by sending them groceries and adobo personally cooked by him.

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The ayuda (cash aid) for the displaced drivers became a monthly effort and with God’s grace, this small effort soon inspired others to help as well.

The Fil-Am Bronxville Community of New York later joined and in March and April they were able to feed not only families of jeepney drivers but poor communities around Quezon City. The beneficiaries received two kilos of rice, four noodle packs, four coffee packs, plus longganisa, embutido and even cupcakes prepared by the family.

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After a couple of months of cooking for the communities and realizing their ability to cook meals for a great number, Jesus’ son Will and daughter-in-law Kelly, who were the primary movers behind the food drives, decided to open their own business of home-cooked meals.

Julianna’s Kitchen was born. Julianna is the name of Will and Kelly’s daughter.

They started a menu last July with their family specialties: the Bicol Express of Jesus, the embutido of Jesus’ wife Severa, and the lasagna of Kelly.

By July, they have already expanded their menu to include chicken wings, which is the favorite of Julianna; a flourless chicken cordon bleu; baked salmon, which is another bestseller; and kare-kare using the recipe of Julianna’s great grandmother from Tarlac. These come in party trays and are perfect for sending to friends or front-liners.

The wonderful thing about this family is that even if their business is now thriving, they continue the mission which got them started: feeding those in need.

Aside from the QC communities, they also sent food packs to front-liners of five hospitals including Valenzuela General Hospital.

Recently, they were able to send help to the victims of Typhoon “Rolly.” The family collected items like blankets, clothes and toys, which they sent to a Bicol-based business owner who was helping their food drives.

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They will also have an early Christmas food drive on Nov. 26. Eight other food businesses have already volunteered to help.

How wonderful to see that they have countered the coronavirus with something more contagious: the virus of giving.

What a beautiful story of turning something that would otherwise have reeked of desperation into overflowing grace. It’s proof that blessings abound when you find it in you to give even at a time when it seems like you have nothing more to give.

Julianna’s Kitchen. For orders, call 0999-2235534 or message Facebook.com/JuliannasKitchenn or Instagram @juliannaskitchen. For donations, message Diane Reyes 0917-6119808 or Kelly Caneso 0999-2235534.

More from the author at margauxlicious.com. Follow @margauxsalcedo on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

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TAGS: community quarantine, jeepney operator, Jesus Cañeso
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