Cocinando y Donando (Cocydon ) is a social gastronomy initiative that was born in 2016, when Luis Fernando Norato cooked 12 dishes in the kitchen of his apartment to distribute them to people who were homeless.
Some time later, this gesture of solidarity became a gastronomic movement made up of food donors, chefs and volunteers, who until recently met every Saturday to promote this project that generated between 1,000 and 1,200 dishes every Saturday for the most needy in the area. metropolitan.
Cocydon, like other initiatives to help others, had to reinvent itself after the measures imposed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus .
Cocydon operated in the kitchen of Hogar Bolívar before the pandemic, and now prepares his dishes from the kitchen of the Delicias Peruanas restaurant. Among the groups that the NGO serves the most are people living on the streets, who endure some type of addiction, residents of migrant shelters, and any other social group that is extremely vulnerable.
Before the pandemic, between 50 and 60 volunteers joined Cocydón each week. Now they operate three Saturdays a month and each day they deliver between 110 and 150 plates of food to the most vulnerable, distributed in different places, such as Avenida 5 de Mayo and Curundú.
“We continue working, always maintaining biosecurity measures such as the use of masks and physical distancing,” said David Icaza, from Cocydon.
Cocydon developed two activities to awaken solidarity in the public. One of them is Virtual Cocydon, in which participants upload on their Instagram stories how they cook one or more dishes for people in need of food.
Another of the activities carried out is the massive delivery of food to areas of difficult access in East Panama.
Icaza explained that Cocydon plans in the future to open a gastronomic center in which not only food is cooked and dispatched but also cooking, art or computer workshops are offered.
“We contemplate this project as a way to carry out an experience in a comprehensive way and provide help beyond a plate of food,” he said.
To make this project a reality, Icaza expressed the need to find a feasible land to carry out these activities, and mentioned an abandoned land of the Ministry of Health, located behind the facilities of the State Radio and Television System, in Ancón.
They have not yet been able to make the pertinent approaches to use it.
“Our dream is that instead of cooking every Saturday, we can do it every day, as long as we can attend to anyone in need of a plate of hot food and a gesture of love,” he added.