ucanews.com reporter, ManilaUpdated: March 06, 2019 08:34 AM GMT
Church workers distribute food to children in a Manila urban poor community after the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. (Photo by George Moya)
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has appealed to Filipino Catholics to mark the Lenten season by doing acts of charity, especially by helping feed poor children.
He urged people to deepen their relationship with God by donating money that would usually have gone on a meal to Manila Archdiocese’s "Fast2Feed” campaign, which is part of the Philippine Church's Hapag-Asa program.
It is a nationwide feeding program that aims to reduce malnutrition among children up to 12 years old.
The Hapag-Asa Integrated Nutrition scheme has actively partnered with the archdiocese by mounting regular feeding programs in poor and remote areas of the country.
"We, Filipinos, have a deep relationship with our faith. The season of Lent is another opportunity for us to recenter our lives by helping those who are most in need," Cardinal Tagle said.
To be able to continue their mission to reach and help children, Hapag-Asa has appealed to churchgoers to donate money they are able to save from fasting to "Fast2Feed."
"Under the Fast2Feed initiative as little as 10 pesos a day can feed a child manna pack-based meal," said the prelate.
A "manna pack" is a rice meal formula fortified with vitamins mixed with vegetables.
"Let us make a difference in the lives of these hungry and malnourished children by donating whatever we save from fasting," Cardinal Tagle said.
"To practice charity is concrete proof that we are striving to follow Jesus, and that we are making the gift of ourselves the active principle of Christian life," he added.
Since 2005, the Hapag-Asa program has been feeding hungry and undernourished children throughout the country.
This year, Hapag Asa is looking to provide one meal per day to 30,000 children for 120 days.
"The development of their full potential will not be achieved unless they are cared for and fed with nutritious food," according to Cardinal Tagle.
The Hapag-asa feeding programs are supplemented by skills and livelihood training for parents and values education sessions for both parents and children.
It also helps communities, especially mothers, to form self-help groups to establish a strong support system within the community capable of organizing their own initiatives to get them out of poverty.