Do you know what it is like to be hungry for a long period of time? Many of us don’t know the feeling. For the poor in the missions, hunger is a constant companion. It is bad enough for adults, but the little children, the innocent ones, suffer the most. Malnutrition and slow starvation stunt physical growth, cause serious intellectual disabilities, and leave God’s little ones easy prey to disease and infection. Our missionaries work with the poorest of the poor in developing countries, helping to provide them with adequate resources, especially food and water. One cannot survive without food and water! During the shutdowns in developing countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions have only gotten worse! Please, help us feed the hungry in the missions around the world.
Feeding the Poor in the Philippines
In Cebu City, Philippines, Father Renee Dean, OFM, the provincial of the Province of St. Anthony of Padua, reports that the virus is still wreaking havoc among the parishioners of San Vicente Ferrer Parish, where Father Alberto Sekito, OFM serves as pastor. This parish community is centered in a poor, densely populated, inner-city neighborhood. About eighty percent of the parishioners are daily-wage earners, workers in nearby factories and institutions, or self-employed. They are renters and informal settlers and have limited access to medical care and basic services. Most of the parishioners have lost their jobs and the ability to feed their families during the current health crisis. Fr. Renee and Fr. Alberto have submitted an emergency request for the funds to help 500 parish families through this difficult time. They plan to distribute emergency food rations and sanitation kits. These will have rice, coffee, sugar, powdered milk, and canned goods. The families will also receive rubbing alcohol for sanitizing, a box of face masks, and some basic medicines and vitamins. Each emergency kit for a family will cost just a little over $20!
Father Percy Tayem, OFM, a friar of the Province of San Pedro Bautista, serves the poor in the St. Joseph the Protector Parish in the Diocese of Novaliches, the Philippines. The parish has five chapels located in a densely populated, urban area in the city of Makati. It is considered the poorest community in the diocese. The friars have been in the parish as administrators for fifteen years. In addition to helping the people deepen their faith and spiritual life through the sacraments, the friars also catechize the children. There are many malnourished children in the area, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most children may get one meal a day because their parents do not have regular employment. Fr. Percy has submitted an emergency request to feed the malnourished children of this area. He plans to feed 100 children each day with the help of volunteers from the parish. It will only cost $140 per day to feed that many kids. Only $1.40 is needed to provide a nutritious meal of rice, fish or chicken and vegetables!
Fr. Percy’s goal is to improve the health of these children so they will be better protected from infections and diseases such as COVID-19. It is also a way of nurturing the children spiritually. While mothers and other youth volunteers are preparing the food, the children receive religious instruction, learn prayers, and sometimes watch films about the Blessed Mother and the lives of the saints.
Feeding the Poor in Brazil
In the Province of St. Benedict in Amazon of Brazil, our friars are distributing emergency food and providing medical care to over 400 indigenous families. So the people do not have to travel to the city where they can be exposed to the virus, the friars visit the families and provide baskets of food, personal hygiene materials, and medicine each week. Twice a month, a group of nurses and doctors accompany the friars for medical consultations.
These are just a few examples of the Franciscan missionary efforts to feed the hungry in missions around the world during this difficult time. Please send a donation today to help our missionaries provide food and water to God’s people who live as refugees, who go hungry and thirsty, who live in poverty and crime, who are ill and suffering, and who are abused and forgotten.
Together, We Deliver Hope
Your prayers and donations make tremendous difference for the poor. Together we deliver hope to faraway places like Peru and India, where Franciscan missionaries operate soup kitchens to feed the poor, and in Myanmar, where our friars struggle to find food for the refugees of that war-torn country. Help a child today to be stronger in body and mind, better able to resist germs and parasites, and better able to develop the way God intended all children to grow. Please make even a small contribution to help our Franciscan missionaries feed the hungry in missions around the world.
We are blessed to live in a land of plenty. Most of us never worry about feeding our families. Quite the opposite, we are bombarded with commercials advertising weight loss programs. We also do not need to worry about access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Booster shots are being proposed, while the poor in the missions cannot even get their first dose! By sharing some of God’s blessings with the poor, you are providing food. A pocketful of coins can provide a nutritious meal to a hungry child. Your gift can truly change someone’s destiny from death to life.
Thanking God for what you have and giving to those who are in desperate need express the true meaning of Thanksgiving. May your Thanksgiving be blessed.
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Your gift in thanksgiving for the blessings God will ensure that hungry children in the missions have a complete meal every day. Thank you in advance for renewing your generous support of the work of our Franciscan missionary friars.