Church folks donate food packs to hungry

The Covid-19 Task Force of the Diocese of Dumaguete has started distributing food packs to the vulnerable and most affected sectors of the community, especially those who were economically displaced as a result of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Negros Oriental amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, the spokesperson of the Diocesan COVID-19 Task Force, said Monday that they have also identified three houses ready for accommodation for the front-liners, especially medical personnel, who may not be able to travel to and from their homes outside of Dumaguete during the ECQ period from April 3 to 18.

However, no one has so far availed of this service as hospital personnel prefer to go home as there are not too many patients now in the hospitals, he said.

Since the creation of the task force by Bishop Julito Cortes last March 31st, the church-based civilian/laity groups have already distributed food packs to different affected sectors in the diocese, he said.

The Lingkod ng Panginoon distributed 143 packs to the Kritohanong Katilingban informal settlers in Barangay Looc here while the Focolare Movement Dumaguete Local Community gave a total of 620 food packages to the following sector – porters at the city pier, ambulant vendors such as those selling tempura, peanuts, and “balut”, massage therapists, parking attendants, Muslim association of vendors, and night market vendors.

Couples for Christ took charge of the Dumaguete Foot Reflex and Body Massage group with 28 members, Dumaguete Masseurs Association, 38 members; Massage Foot Reflex Therapy Association, 52 members; Dumaguete City Alternative Healing Ministry Association, 74 members; Dumaguete Zone Theraphy Association, 32 members; Thanner Massage Therapist Association, 38 members; Dumaguete Masahe Therapist Association, 30 members; Dumaguete Association of Miracle Therapists, 28 members; and Shatern Masahe Therapist Association with 37 members.

Meanwhile, the Bukas Loob sa Diyos Covenant Community here, together with Fr. Christian Benhamin, also distributed 200 food packs for pedicab and “habal-habal” drivers, as well as drivers delivering sand and gravel.

Heruela said that even before the imposition of the ECQ, the diocese here has already been quietly distributing aid to these sectors.

For parishes that initiated the solicitation and distribution of relief goods, the task force has created guidelines on how these should be carried out, asking the Basic Ecclesial Communities to help them identify which sectors truly need assistance while encouraging parishioners to share their blessings “bayanihan style”, he said.

Meanwhile, the diocese has announced that wake for the dead will only be for two to three days and that only the immediate family should attend the funeral, Heruela said.

He said because there are now many organizations taking active participation in handing out assistance to the affected sectors, the diocese is reserving its resources for a worst-case scenario as “wise preparation is need”. (By Mary Judaline Partlow, PNA)