MANILA, Feb. 19, 2015—The country’s chief priest has renewed his plea for a more active Catholic involvement in the fight against nationwide hunger and malnutrition among Filipino children, by donating money that will be saved during the Lenten fast to the Fast2Feed program of Hapag-Asa.
Acts of charity
In a recent pastoral letter, Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle reminds the faithful that Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, invites them to heed God’s call to “pray, fast, and do acts of charity”.
“If we fast and let the poor, hungry and undernourished children benefit from it, we relive what Jesus said, ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,’” he shares.
Feeding hungry kids
The prelate reports that in 2014, the Fast2Feed campaign was able to feed as many as 150,000 children in the Yolanda-hit areas alone and another 20,000 elsewhere through the six-month Hapag-Asa feeding program, which assures kid beneficiaries warm and nutritious meals five days a week for six months, while parents were given values education and livelihood training.
Tagle notes, however, that the effort to help the poor, hungry, and undernourished children does not stop and has to continue given that millions more of them still suffer from hunger and undernourishment, and need all the love and help that can be given.
10 pesos per day, 6 months
According to him, it only takes Php 1,200, roughly Php 10 per day, to bring a hungry and undernourished child back to a healthy state in six months.
Since Hapag-Asa started in 2005 to 2014, it had already fed a total of 1,455,735 children under its six-month supplemental feeding program in coordination with various dioceses, non-government organizations (NGOs), local government units (LGUs), and schools nationwide.
33,000 children from the disaster-affected Archdiocese of Palo, the Dioceses of Calbayog, Naval, and Maasin, underwent a special three-day feeding program using proceeds from the Fast2Feed campaign in 2014.
Besides supplemental feeding, Hapag-Asa has also bolstered its education and livelihood components, including Early Childhood Education (ECE) and the education of parents.
ECE consists in unstructured learning interventions, which aim to address the learning needs of children 3 to 6-years old, as well as those unable to attend formal schooling through fun activities that stimulate brain development and encourage full human potential. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)