Taho vendor Lorenzo Diaz aka Tatay Nelson has shown everyone that helping other people requires only a little effort with pure intention.
He has been making the rounds online after he gave additional cups of his product to a community pantry at Brgy. Panamitan in Kawit, Cavite last Wednesday. (RELATED: Caviteños replicate viral Maginhawa community pantry)
Charity group Project Starfish told The Cavite Rising it set up their Maginhawa-inspired community pantry last Tuesday with an initial budget of P2,000 which it spent for grocery items.
The next morning, Project Starfish members had a spare change of P250 so they decided to buy cups of silken tofu as breakfast for some of their neighbors from longtime taho vendor Tatay Nelson, who was passing by at that time.
“Maliit pa lang kami, lagi na kaming bumibili ng taho kay kuya Nelson. Nito ngang Wednesday, sakto napadaan siya dito sa tapat ng bahay namin kasi dito naman talaga yung ruta niya palagi kaya ayun, bumili kami sa kanya nang halagang P250,” one of the organizers, who requested anonymity, said in an interview.
Tatay Nelson also shared he thought of giving more cups for the community pantry after knowing that his products, among other food items, will be donated to the hungry.
“Ako po talaga ay hindi marunong mag-cellphone at gumamit niyang Facebook kaya hindi ko po alam iyang mga community pantries. Nang bumili po sila sa akin nang marami, naisip kong dagdagan as discount ba tsaka suki ko rin kasi sila. Tapos nalaman ko pa na ibibigay pala ‘to nang libre kaya walang problema sa akin kung damihan ko pa,” the 56-year-old vendor said.
Although they were glad about Tatay Nelson’s gesture, the group insisted on paying for the extra cups so he will not lose a part of a day’s income.
“Siyempre natuwa kami na ‘Ay wow, nag-donate si kuya’ pero gusto rin namin na makauwi na rin siya agad kaya sinagot din naming yung mga dinagdag niya,” said a Project Starfish member.
Thanks to several individuals who chipped in, they eventually raised P400 which they then spent to buy a total of 40 cups of taho.
While he did not expect to go viral for his good deed, Tatay Nelson feels blessed as he has been earning praises online and has been even receiving donations from kindhearted people he inspired.
“Pagbalik ko dito kinabukasan, nagulat ako kasi yung mga nabili sa akin, sinasabi nila na ‘Huy, kuya Nelson! Sikat ka na!’ Ako naman, pakiramdam ko para nga akong artista. Sinasabi ko na lang na ‘Teka, hindi pa ako pumipirma ng kontrata’,” he said in jest.
The group’s founder, who also wished to remain anonymous, had the same reaction. She added they will continue putting up their community pantry every day as long as they have the funds to sustain it.
“We really did not expect yung ganito, na magbo-boom siya. Yung community pantry namin, same lang din naman sa iba. Pero siguro it’s because marami yung natuwa nang makita nila yung ganitong balita sa gitna ng mga negativities ngayon sa mundo… Kindness is really contagious,” said Project Starfish leader in a phone interview.
She added they also plan to relocate it to different parts of their barangay and to set up another stall in Laguna to cater more people.
Even before Tatay Nelson made waves online, he goes out on the streets of Brgy. Panamitan all the way to the villages of Noveleta, Cavite selling taho to meet his family’s ends and to support the college education of one of her three daughters.
“Mula sa bahay namin sa Bayan Luma II sa Imus at pagkatapos magtinda sa may palengke, sumasakay ako araw-araw nang 35 taon papunta dito sa Panamitan para maglako hanggang doon sa Noveleta. Kahit mainit, kahit may COVID, kahit mabigat ‘tong mga timba ko na nasa 40 kilos, kinakaya ko. Hinahanap-hanap ko rin kasi to kasi parang exercise ko na rin,” he furthered.
Asked how he plans to use the donations he received, he said: “Yung pera, hawak ni misis. Ipang-gagastos namin sa araw-araw tsaka pambili na rin ng gamot ko sa high blood [pressure] ko. Pati yung kapatid ko sa Capas, Tarlac na naka-confine ngayon sa hospital dahil daw sa problema sa colon, papadalhan ko rin… Malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa mga nagbigay ng pera sa amin.”
Tatay Nelson is a living proof that there is no such thing as small act in helping people in need. As well as the community pantry organizers, he became an inspiration for many amid these uncertain times because of his generosity filled with sincerity.
For those who wish to send financial assistance to Tatay Nelson, you may send it to his daughter Loraine’s GCash account at 09954858708 or you can contact his wife Milagros at 09107997337.