“While poverty afflicts all nations, we must be ready to extend aid wherever it is needed.”
This, according to Iglesia Ni Cristo General Auditor Glicerio B. Santos Jr., is one of the philosophies of INC's Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, which conducted Lingap sa Mamamayan programs in all six continents during the month of October to mark the 63rd birthday of INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo.
After conducting various outreach activities in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Australia-New Zealand, the homegrown church with members worldwide came home and conducted outreach activities in Tondo and Binondo in the heart of Manila and Culiat in Quezon City.
“We believe that the poor need more than our pity––they need our help. And we are prepared and willing to give it, wherever and whenever necessary,” said Santos on Tuesday, who also revealed that the foundation distributed a total of 100,000 goodie bags for both locations in Manila while simultaneously conducting medical and dental missions.
According to Santos, the last Lingap activity for the month will be held today in Culiat and is focused on bringing assistance to the Muslim community in the area, which will have similar medical and dental assistance programs and an allocation of 5,000 goodie bags.
Santos emphasized that the Church’s approach to its anti-poverty efforts mirrored the INC’s “global outlook.”
“We have members and churches all over the world. Our presence worldwide therefore allows us to reach more people, regardless of their faith. If the need is there, our Church is there,” Santos said.
In the past month, the Foundation conducted various Lingap or “Aid to Humanity” programs in New York and Connecticut in the United States, and Toronto and Winnipeg in Canada.
In Toronto, beneficiaries included the Ralph Chiodo Family Immigant Reception Center, the Neighborhood Organization, Redwood Shelter for Women, Chrisie Ossington Neighborhood Men’s Shelter, Christie Refuge Welcome Center, Homes First Society Youth Shelter, Flemingdon Community Food Bank, Matthew House for Refugee Claimants, Romero House for Refugees, and the Canadian Center for Refugee and Immigrant Health Care.
In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Santos said that the assistance drive focused on the Turtle Mountain Community Center, with the INC extending assistance to immigrants and vulnerable sectors in the area.
Santos said that residents and attendees at the various Canadian locations received cash donations and were handed approximately 4,000 “goodwill bags” containing fleece blankets, socks, hats, mittens, gloves, bath towels, soaps, hand sanitizers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, combs, ponchos, granola bars, canned foods, noodles and ready-to-eat meals. The Foundation likewise donated 1,000 Canadian dollars to each of the centers and shelters.
“We are fortunate that wherever we organize our outreach activities, local leaders and communities have welcomed our initiatives. They recognize, as we do, that poverty is a problem that can be more effectively addressed when different groups and sectors come together to pitch in,” said Santos.
The INC likewise held outreach activities in Kibera and Kawangware in Nairobi, Kenya last June after holding similar activities in Blantyre and Samama Vil. Mangochi in Malawi. Over 33,000 Lingap attendees were provided assistance in the African locations.
Santos explained that Lingap would continue to expand and reach as many areas as possible in the near future, upon the direction and instruction of INC Executive Minister Manalo.
“The Church has been very blessed in its over one hundred years of existence. And Ka Eduardo believes that it is only right that we share these blessings with the less fortunate.”