After shelter closure, QC cafe shifts to distributing relief packs

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Popburri staff and volunteers repack goods on March 28, 2020 for distribution to homeless people who took shelter at the ice cream restaurant as the enhanced community quarantine remains imposed. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – A cafe in Quezon City that served as temporary shelter for the homeless amid the Luzon lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has shifted to distributing aid after it was shut down over alleged quarantine violations, its management said Saturday.

Officials in Barangay East Kamias ordered the closure of Popburri as a homeless shelter due to violation of quarantine protocols, the cafe announced on its Facebook page.

"For the record, we at Popburri learned along the way to enforce the protocols required," the management said.

Popburri maintained it had applied precautionary measures when accepting street dwellers and stranded workers, such as fever checks, other hygiene practices and physical distancing.


On Friday, the cafe took in 72 people who have nowhere to go during the government-ordered lockdown.

"The Lord gives us leaders in our nation that see further than we can, and often are more knowledgeable in many aspects and therefore we respectfully honor the decision made by our barangay leaders," Popburri said.

The cafe's shelter may have been ordered closed, but it wouldn't stop providing services to the homeless.

Starting Saturday, Popburri said it would distribute grocery bags that were donated by its customers and neighbors, among others.

"I hope this is only the beginning of the process to get them permanently off the street and hope together we can create an alternative, long-lasting solution to our issue of homelessness," it said.

Officials earlier said feeding programs may continue under the lockdown so long as quarantine measures such as physical distancing are followed.

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