Don Bosco Calaunan distributes more than 7,000 meals each day
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Calauan, located in Calauan, Philippines, has a feeding program that distributes more than 7,000 meals each day. Currently, 3,500 children and adults receive daily rice porridge for breakfast and then rice with a side dish for lunch. Every six months the recipient list is updated, and each recipient is evaluated to see who still needs to be part of the feeding program. Some names are removed and new ones are added.
Don Bosco Calauan is located among a densely populated community that is mostly relocated families who are among the poorest and most disenfranchised. When the government moved these families to Calauan, they left their source of income in Manila. People engage in informal activities or trades to earn a living. Many children are malnourished and families still struggle to survive due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2010, Salesian missionaries launched skills training programs to help people learn trades and develop the skills for employment. The feeding program was also launched and remained strong even during the pandemic. Father Ferdinand Camilo is among the 25 volunteers who serve as cooks and helpers in food preparation. Brother Ronnel Tiu oversees the distribution of meals, which are made possible thanks to partnerships, foundations and individual donors.
“Children cannot focus on their education and people cannot do well at work on an empty stomach,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The contributions of donors and partners allow Salesian missionaries on the ground to expand their efforts to reach families who desperately need our help, especially as the pandemic pushed some families further into poverty.”
Since 1950, Salesian Missions has been providing crucial help in the Philippines — working with at-risk youth, impoverished families and disaster victims. Humanitarian agencies warn of the dangers faced by the most disadvantaged children in the Philippines. There are at least 1.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 who are out of school and are being left behind. In addition, children born into the poorest 20 percent of the population are almost three times more likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 percent.
Poverty rose sharply in the Philippines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Bank, close to 4 million people became poor in the first half of 2021 due to pandemic-induced lockdown measures that dried up jobs and reduced domestic demand. Poverty incidence in the Philippines rose to 23.7 percent from 21.1 percent, indicating 3.9 million more people are living in poverty now than in 2018 when the statistics were last verified.
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Salesian Missions – Philippines
World Bank – Philippines