As people of faith, it is a biblical justice to feed the hungry and clothe the naked; to welcome thy neighbour; and to protect the vulnerable.
For the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church of Christ, it means opening their hearts, minds, and offering their resources to see where there is need– to do good and to respond in love and concrete action.
Even in developed countries, poverty still exists and affects people on different levels.
Poverty has many dimensions. It is a common misconception that those living in poverty simply choose to live in that condition, especially within a developed country. However, it is evident that even in developed countries such as Canada and the USA, there is a great social disparity between the rich and the poor (i.e. the rich get richer and the poor get pushed further into poverty).
The “poor” are commonly those that have been marginalized by society and alienated because of their mental or physical disabilities, pushed to homelessness because of the impossible cost of health care, not being able to find decent and affordable housing, not being able to understand and communicate in an environment with increasing technological and legal complexity and being unable to find nutritious food at reasonable prices.
In Canada, the level of poverty is not as small-scale as even its residents are led to believe.
In a 2016 report on poverty in Canada, it reveals:
18.5% of children live in poverty
31.5% single-parent families
45.7% of children in single-parent families
34% of recent immigrants and refugees live in poverty.
The poverty rate of Indigenous Canadians is 25.3%.
The statistics relate to the information that 1 in 7 (or 4.9 million) [i]people in Canada live in poverty, based on Low-Income Measure (LIM).
Governments bring forward concrete new measures to make a real difference in the fight against poverty. Despite these efforts, it is evident that poverty remains rampant. And it is evident that the collective society must act as a community in not only pressuring the government to act, but to address the matter of poverty itself; to empower those most vulnerable to poverty, such as the indigenous, the new immigrants, refugees, the marginalized, and the racialized.
United States of America is no different. In May 2018, a United Nation’s investigative report on the effects of systemic poverty in the United States highlights that 40 million people live in poverty and over five million live “in third world” conditions.[ii]
Poverty is detrimental to anyone who experiences it, anywhere in the world. However, many immigrants such as refugees have uniquely complex circumstances (e.g. language barriers and poor social support) which predispose them to poverty.
Right now, over 736 million people, around the world, struggle every day to get by—in extreme poverty, surviving on less that $1.90 per day[iii].
Poverty is a heavy burden to bear. It impacts people physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It impacts their sense of identity in the world and their relationship with others, with creation, and with God.
Poverty impacts people differently, and some people experience multiple barriers that make it harder for them to live fully.
FELIX Y. MANALO FOUNDATION goes above and beyond in using its power of collective action to combat poverty and empower and uplift those who feel hopeless.
Following the recent success and outreach of the FYM foundation in six Canadian cities, the foundation has geared up and forward to expand their work to 10 states within the USA.
Aid recipients received packages 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. Some venues catered to students’ needs. School children were given
school supplies, bags, and other items specific to their learning growth.
The Foundation made charitable donations of between $5,000.00 and $10,000 to each of the organizations in all ten sites.
The following venues were well-attended by non-profit organizations and their clients.
- –August 11, 2019, Brownsville Recreation Center at Brooklyn, New York.
- August 12,2019, Monday, at the parking lot of the Iglesia Ni Cristo chapel at 5225 Hagan Rd Marlow Heights, Maryland
- August 14, 2019, Wednesday in Washington State at Othello Playground Park at 4351 S Othello St, Seattle, WA 98118 on Wednesday,
- August 16, 2019 from 11am to 4pm at their Memphis, Tennessee at 878 Mississippi Blvd 38126.[iv]
– August 17, 2019, Tuesday, at the Northern part of the West Coast, in Arroyo Viejo Park in the City of Oakland, California. Invited to attend were officials of the Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco, City, County, and State officials as well as representatives from the Law Enforcement.
- August 20, 2019 at San Carlos Apache Native American Reservation, Arizona
- August 23, 2019, San Diego, California in Montgomery-Waller Community Park at 3020 Coronado Ave, San Diego, CA 92154
- August 24, 2019, The Wellstone Center,179 Robie St, St. Paul, Minnesota 55107
24, 2019 at the Los Angeles Trade-Tech College located at 400 West Washington
Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90015 from 10:00am-7:00pm.
- On this 14th day and the last leg of its US Tour, the FYM Foundation’s Aid to Humanity reaches out to the community in Rockford, Illinois providing school supplies, gently used winter clothing and medical screenings.
The Aid to Humanity project has been one of the INC’s key programs since INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo took over the leadership of the church in 2009. It has set historical records of Worldwide Walks for charity which benefited hundred thousand of people.
Earlier this year, Aid to Humanity events helped 36 local organizations in Canada, serving thousands in need along the way, as part of its global aim to provide an opportunity for those most in need and contribute to supporting peaceful and productive communities. Other projects include eco-farming in Africa and the distribution of basic supplies to residents of favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Volunteers of the foundation have also offered relief aid in the aftermath of natural calamities, such as hurricanes and earthquakes in the Philippines and other disaster-stricken areas.
For more about the Church and its activities, please visit www.iglesianicristo.net
Photos Courtesy of Iglesia Ni Cristo Public Information Office
[ii] Alston, Philp (December 15, 2017). “Statement on Visit to the USA, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights”. OHCHR. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
AUGUST 15 (SEATTLE) – Over 550 residents gathered in Othello Playground to receive free resources during an Aid to Humanity event hosted by the Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation, the charitable arm of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC or Church Of Christ). Eight local organizations were honored to support their positive social impact in the Seattle area—each receiving a $5,000 donation.