Written by Rev. Andrei O. Paz, SSC
Back in March, when the Philippines was placed under community quarantine due to COVID-19, many people including myself, experienced a lot of anxiety in the face of uncertainty about the impact of the virus on our lives, our families and our community. We saw how a lot of people who were displaced from their work in the cities, went into selfisolation back home in the provinces, and therefore could no longer provide any income for their families. As a result, many people became desperate.
In order to help alleviate such suﬀering, some friends and I came up with the idea of providing grocery bags for indigent families, as well as for displaced workers who were family breadwinners undergoing self-isolation, in the municipalities of Bangar and Sudipen in La Union.
Each grocery bag cost roughly ₱300 or £4.50, and contained 3 kilograms of rice, a bar of antibacterial bath soap, and an assortment of canned goods. Although this did not seem much, it has been enough to assure people that they had the necessities to get by, as well to make them feel that they were not facing this crisis alone because others thought about, and cared for them.
Thanks to the generous donations from you our supporters we have been able to distribute at least 1,800 grocery bags to those who were destitute.
While all of us hope that the situation across our country will improve with the easing of restrictions, some members of our community will continue to be vulnerable for the foreseeable future. Therefore, we plan to continue distributing grocery bags to them as long as we have the resources to do so.
Let us continue to pray that God will show our country, as well as our suﬀering brothers and sisters around the world, a way out of this crisis together.
In the midst of all the suﬀering and sadness, fear and anxiety that this crisis has brought to our lives, I am deeply grateful for Columban supporters who think not just about themselves but also about others, especially those who are carrying heavier burdens. May God bless and reward you for your compassion and generosity!
Fr. Andrei Paz is a Columban priest from the Philippines.