Iglesia Ni Cristo presses poverty fight

“THE Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) has set its sights on the global campaign against poverty. It’s a cause we’ve committed to champion and sustain as a church.”

This was the remark of Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo after the INC conducted its most recent outreach activities in various Canadian cities, further describing them as “much bigger than our initial Aid to Humanity efforts last year in North America.”  

The church provided assistance to needy and marginalized groups in Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver this May through the worldwide “Lingap” program of the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation.  

INC General Auditor Glicerio B. Santos, Jr. noted that “We’ve heightened our assistance efforts for immigrants, indigenous peoples, female lone-parent families, members of racialized groups, persons with disabilities, and other sectors where poverty incidence is higher based on Canadian population statistics. Our focus, like before, is on the needy and vulnerable.”

In Winnipeg Manitoba last May 19, INC gathered beneficiaries from the Turtle Island Recreation Center, Ma Mawi Chi Itata Center, Norquay Center Children’s Orphanage, and the Indigenous Children’s Orphanage and distributed 3,000 loot bags.  

Montreal followed the next day with 500 loot bags benefiting the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, Orphan Sun (Soleil des Orphelins), La Société de Développement Social,  YMCA, The Open Door, Old Brewery Mission Hall, La Maison Benoit Labre, Mile End Community Mission, and La rue de femme.   

Aid recipients also received checks on top of packages which had 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 May 21 Ottawa leg meanwhile included the Matthew House Doreen and Ottawa Food Bank, as well as the Le Gîte Ami, L’Ami de l’Entraide and Moisson Outauais shelters, which all received similar financial assistance and care packages.  

Similar well-attended initiatives were held in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver on May 23, 25 and 26, respectively.  

Brief programs held at the venues included messages from local civic and political leaders. A film showing on the INC’s global push for expansion followed.  

The short audio-visual presentation highlighted the church’s various outreach activities in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Australia-New Zealand.  

“These activities fall under the umbrella of our Lingap sa Mamamayan program. Our Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo strives to make our North American humanitarian presence stronger and more responsive. His singular vision of alleviating poverty in various parts of the world is what drives and inspires us,” Santos Jr. explained.  

The INC went full blast with its North American Aid to Humanity efforts in 2018.  

Three groundbreaking “Fight Poverty” activities were held in Long Island, New York and Hartford, Connecticut in the United States and in Toronto, Canada in September last year, targeting low-income localities.  

The INC General Auditor stressed that their aid efforts were equally focused on Filipinos, especially Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).  

In late 2018 and early 2019, big Aid to Humanity and Lingap sa Mamamayan activities were held in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Macau and Hong Kong, with close to 8,000 OFWs attending.  

The INC General Auditor announced that more aid activities are planned.  

“Assistance is given regardless of nationality, gender, religious and political affiliation. Every day in many parts of the world, there are lives to improve and souls to nourish. Our Executive Minister and the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation do their best to make the INC a meaningful and helpful presence where poverty needs to be addressed,” Santos Jr. said.