A feeding program for children’s bodies and souls | Inquirer Lifestyle
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STUDENT volunteers help in feeding and teaching catechism to impoverished children.

A feeding program for children’s bodies and souls

STUDENT volunteers help in feeding and teaching catechism to impoverished children.
STUDENT volunteers help in feeding and teaching catechism to impoverished children.

The Hapag-Asa Feeding Program brings full meals and catechism lessons to undernourished kids

 

Joey Velasco’s painting “Hapag ng Pagasa,” which shows Jesus breaking bread not with his apostles but with real-life streetchildren, beautifully depicts the concept behind the Hapag-Asa Feeding Program.

Hapag-Asa became the flagship of Pondo ng Pinoy in 2005, to feed undernourished children aged one to 12 in feeding sites of various parishes and schools. The program is also a joint endeavor with Caritas and the Assisi Development Foundation.

 

Pondo ng Pinoy funding gets the whole lay community involved, to embody the virtues of love and sharing implied in the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and in another Gospel story about sharing even only the crumbs under the table. Churchgoers are encouraged to save spare coins in empty softdrink containers to be offered during the Mass on designated dates.

 

The Assisi Development Foundation provides technical assistance through its teaching program that includes values and spiritual formation; health and nutrition for the children beneficiaries; and, for the parents, lectures on natural family planning, and training in skills and livelihood.

 

Children in a feeding site at Mapayapa Village, Las Piñas
Children in a feeding site at Mapayapa Village, Las Piñas

NGOs like Technological Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) are also involved, but Hapag-Asa goes the extra mile by doing what Pope Francis always underscores in his teachings—that good works should always be accompanied by evangelization.

 

Beneficiaries

 

The Good Shepherd Parish of Las Piñas under the Diocese of Parañaque has been feeding malnourished children since 2006. Under the supervision of Sister Violy Novenario, coordinator and representative of the Diocese of Parañaque to the Assisi Foundation, the number of children beneficiaries of Good Shepherd Parish rose from 62 in 2006 to 168 at present.

 

The mission areas of the Good Shepherd Parish (GSP) are Mapayapa Village and St. Joseph Subdivision. Supplementary feeding is done five times a week from February to July. Each child is allotted P5 for each meal, consisting of US-fortified rice, vegetables, potatoes and chicken.

 

The child’s weight is recorded every end of the month to check progress. This is important because most children admitted to the program are underweight.

 

For the spiritual nourishment of the children, catechism classes are held weekly.

 

“HAPAG ng Pag-asa,” by Joey Velasco
“HAPAG ng Pag-asa,” by Joey Velasco

The SMA (Society of African Missions) fathers, headed by GSP parish priest Gus O’Driscoll, are very much involved in Pondo ng Pinoy, reaching out to school children in private schools to fund this worthy project.

 

Velasco painted a sequel to his first artwork and entitled it “Hapag ng Pag-ibig,” still using the same streetchildren as models, but this time showing them sharing a bountiful meal, their bright faces reflecting the results of being nurtured bodily and spiritually.

 

For those involved in this program even in the smallest way, to see a happy picture of the children saved from hunger and the streets is the reward itself.

 

For those interested to extend help to this project, call Assisi Development Foundation program manager Florinda Macanlalay at 6321001 to 03; Sis. Violy Novenario of Good Shepherd Parish at 873204; or the parish you belong to, indicating that the donation is intended for Pondo ng Pinoy Hapag-Asa.