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Feed a hungry child this Christmas

MANILA, Philippines - Twenty-year-old factory worker Jennifer Junio Pangilinan has decided to forego her plans to purchase a new cell phone in order to buy a Caritas Christmas Feeding Card that will help feed a needy, hungry child for six months.

Jennifer said this has been a difficult decision because she worked hard to save four months of her meager salary for a new cell phone.

“But then, I realized what was more important is to take the opportunity to help less-privileged people like me, especially a hungry child. I realized that a cell phone is just a material thing and just maybe I can save again to buy it, but for now, my heart says it wants to feed a hungry child,” Jennifer said.

The Caritas Christmas Feeding Card is part of the fund-raising activities of the Catholic Church to raise money for its Hapag-Asa feeding program.

Hapag-Asa aims to alleviate the hunger of many impoverished children in the country.

In Metro Manila alone, there are 200,000 children aged zero to five who are wasting from hunger and malnutrition.

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Three out of every 10 Filipino children are malnourished, according to a recent government data.

In the third quarter of the 2009 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, 17.6 percent or an estimated 3.2 million families experience involuntary hunger.

Hapag-Asa is an integrated nutrition program implemented in various parishes.

Each child is fed and monitored for six months with proper meals and natural nutritional supplements to save and restore the child’s health.

Various organizations, institutional partners, families, and local government units help with facilities, medicine and equipment.

To ensure the continued health and nutritional improvement of children beyond the feeding period, the parents undergo an educational program where they are taught health and a child’s nutritional improvement beyond the feeding period. Spiritual formation and livelihood skills training were also taught to them.

Entrepreneurial assistance and guidance are also extended.

This Christmas, Caritas Manila is selling the cards to help as many indigent and hungry children get a head start in nutrition.

Each set of the Caritas Christmas Feeding Card represents one child and the cost of the card per set is P1,800. For that amount, you get one set of 12 cards and 12 envelopes and one less hungry child.

The cost to nourish and monitor a child for six months is P1,800.

“For P1,800 you get to help a hungry child eat for six months; you can restore his health,” said Choy Cagalac of Caritas Manila.

Delivery is free for minimum orders of five sets or more within Metro Manila. P250 delivery charge for orders of less than five sets, within Metro Manila.

For Jennifer, loving the poor even when it is difficult is a true gauge of being a Christian and a follower of Christ’s teachings.

“ I realized that it is easy to excuse yourself to say I will help the poor when it is convenient or when I have extra money. But we have to love and help the poor despite being poor ourselves, or even when there are many challenges. We should help even if it is inconvenient, even if it is difficult,” Jennifer said.

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