Ely Tamanguil drove to the Yigo gym at 2 a.m. on Wednesday in hopes he'd have some food to bring home.
“We don’t have work, so I got in my car and decided to wait in line,” said Tamanguil.
He was the first in line at the second Feed the Need distribution held at the Yigo gym on Wednesday.
By 8:30 a.m., the line of cars waiting to get a bag of food stretched over a mile down Marine Corps Drive from the gym past Yigo McDonald's.
The bags, put together from generous donations from local businesses and members of the community, each contained a 5-pound bag of Calrose rice, various canned meats and vegetables, soups, and other nonperishable items.
Tamanguil didn’t want to come home empty-handed from Wednesday’s distribution.
“The last time I saw the ad in the newspaper, I got there but they ran out of food,” he said.
So he slept in his car and waited patiently.
“The last time I got a paycheck was March 20,” stated Tamanguil.
He works in housekeeping at a Tumon hotel that remains closed.
When asked how he and his family are getting by with no income in nearly three months, he said they have been able to stretch the federal economic impact payment they received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economy Security Act, but the money is running out.
With no word when he will be able to return to work, Tamanguil and his wife anxiously wait for approval of their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application.
“We’re still waiting,” he said.
The Feed the Need initiative started in May with an idea to help displaced workers who had gone weeks without a paycheck and unemployment assistance.
The first food distribution was held May 14 in three locations – Yigo, Barrigada and Agat – and helped feed more than 2,200 families.
On Wednesday, the distribution in Yigo helped feed over 1,000 families, said former Sen. Frank Blas Jr., a co-organizer.
More than a dozen community volunteers came out to help with the distribution in conjunction with the Yigo Mayor’s Office.
“It’s for people like Ely and people like him that we did this. We’re getting together as a community to help the community,” stated Blas. “We’re going to feed more.”
The Guam Daily Post staff worked with Frank Blas & Associates and numerous businesses and volunteers to collect and bag the food for distribution.
“The Post team has heard the plight of so many private sector workers who continue to suffer through this pandemic wondering how they will feed their families,” said Mindy Aguon, CEO of The Guam Daily Post. “We wanted people to know they aren’t alone or forgotten.”
“There’s a lot of people who are going to be able to eat probably the best meal they’ve had in days because of you,” Blas told volunteers. “This is not the last time we’re going to do this.”