TRUCKLOADS OF SQUASH. A total of 17,000 kilos of the summer squash, the yellow variety of squash is unloaded from a truck which was donated by a group of persons from Apayao as their way of giving back to Tabuk City that sent them thousands of sacks of rice when they were suffering due to non-stop rains in last quarter of 2019. The donors called themselves KaraBasa the Ilocano word for squash which they coined as an acronym for "Karamay ng Bayan Sa Aksyon Covid-19". (PNA photo courtesy of the provincial government of Kalinga)

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A group of Good Samaritans distributed on Wednesday around 17,000 kilograms of squash to residents of four villages here amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The donation came from members of the "KaraBaSa group". Karabasa is the Ilocano word for squash but was coined to stand for "Karamay ng Bayan Sa Aksyon Covid-19".

Those who benefited from the donation were residents of barangays Sucbot, Balong, Dilag, Cabaruan, Laya West, Laya East, Dagupan West, Casigayan and some parts of San Juan and Ubbog.

Some 15,000 kilos of squash were bought by 12 persons from Pudtol town in Apayao and the additional 2,000 kilograms were donated by the supplier.

"We want to give back for their good gesture," said a member of the KaraBaSa, as the group recalls how Tabuk sent Apayao sacks of rice in previous calamities.

Kalinga is Apayao's immediate neighbor province in the Cordillera. The two provinces used to be known as the province of Kalinga-Apayao before it was separated 25 years ago that gave each political and jurisdictional independence from each other.

The KaraBaSa group advocates the consumption of vegetables especially in the middle of the Covid-19 when people are asked to boost their immune system by eating vegetables.

The group found the significance of squash in terms of the viability of supply, nutritional content, and its economic impact.

Apayao produces a high quantity of vegetables with its vast agricultural land, among them is squash.

The group said the" summer squash" or the yellow variety of squash provides numerous health benefits.

It is high in vitamins A, B6, and C, folate, magnesium, fiber, riboflavin, phosphorus, and potassium.

"That’s a serious nutritional power-packed veggie," the group said.

Yellow squash is also rich in manganese. This mineral helps boost bone strength and helps the body’s ability to process fats and carbohydrates.

In giving the squash as a relief food, the group also said that while it is not processed and free of preservative, the squash is not very perishable comparing to other greens and does not need to be wrapped for it has a thick layer that is also biodegradable.

"Not only is the squash is rich in nutrients, but it can also be stored for several days, and it is eco-friendly," KaraBaSa group said. (PNA)