Amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), through its humanitarian arm, the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, Inc., continues to conduct Lingap sa Mamamayan or Aid to Humanity in different places around the world. It also holds INC Giving events, where Church members exemplify their faith through acts of kindness like community service projects, as well as the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko (My Countrymen, My Brethren), which highlights the sharing of God’s words through evangelical missions vis-à-vis with the outreach initiatives.
The Church has been distributing relief and care packages to those who are in need long before the pandemic. This project continues in various locations to help the general public, as through this endeavor, face masks, face shields, and other medical supplies were given for free to lessen the risk of contracting Covid-19. The Church has also established eco-farming sites to help create livelihood opportunities for members and nonmembers alike.
On January 5, 2020, before the pandemic, the Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko was relaunched at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad de Victoria complex in Bocaue, Bulacan with more than 65,000 attendees from various ecclesiastical districts―six in Metro Manila, three in Bulacan, and Pampanga. It was held simultaneously with Aid to Humanity events in more than 500 venues in 156 countries worldwide.
Just a day after the Taal Volcano in Batangas erupted, the Church Of Christ immediately conducted a Lingap sa Mamamayan activity on January 12, 2020, at the compound of the Local Congregation of Lemery, Ecclesiastical District of Batangas to help those severely affected by the calamity there and nearby province, Cavite. Another relief operation for calamity victims was again conducted there on January 16, 2020.
As Covid-19 started to spread the world over, the Church Of Christ, through the leadership of the Church’s Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, immediately responded by allowing certain Church properties to be used as quarantine and testing facilities for Covid-19 patients. In April 2020, the Church Administration showed support to the Philippine government by allowing the entire Ciudad de Victoria complex to be used as medical station for Covid-19 patients. A total of 1,065 estimated rooms for patients and 476 rooms for frontliners was built inside the complex by the Church Of Christ with help from the national government, Villar Group of Companies, MVP Group of Companies, North Luzon Expressway, PLDT/SMART Communications, Maynilad Water Services, and Manila Electric Company.
On April 6, 2020, the Church donated millions of pesos worth of medical supplies to various hospitals in Quezon City. The donation included thermal scanners, personal protective equipment sets, folding beds, vitamins, disinfectants, among others.
On March 21, 2020, the Quezon City government, through Mayor Joy Belmonte, received Php 5,000,000 as monetary donation from the Church’s Executive Minister to assist the city government’s initiative to help the urban poor and fight the Covid-19 virus.
As the pandemic continues throughout the year, the Church also continues to conduct Aid to Humanity events almost every month in various ecclesiastical districts.
On October 30 and 31, 2020, the Church held a simultaneous Lingap sa Mamamayan in various venues around the world in commemoration of the birthday of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
The Church extended help even to various religious organizations. Mr. Yitzhak Pascual Monzanto of the St. Francis of Assisi Mission Church in Pinugay, Baras, Rizal sought the help of the Church Administration for an aid. On December 5, 2020, the Church immediately responded to their request and gave more than what they had asked. Mr. Monzanto remarked on the Executive Minister’s benevolent act, “We’re happy that he opened his arms to us.” On behalf of their archdiocese, he added, “I would like to express our deep gratitude for this unexpected assistance … show[ing] love for our fellowmen, not because of religion but of intention to help one another.”
US and Canada
On May 9 and 10, a total of 525 people from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area received a donation of essential goods from the Church. Commemorating the Church’s 106th anniversary, through the INC Giving event, 5,000 reusable and washable face masks and other care packages were distributed to people around the area on July 22 to 27. These donations were channeled to public schools, nursing homes, and elderly facilities, including the United States Postal Services (USPS) office in Fort Washington, Maryland, benefiting at least 688 recipients.
On August 12 to 16, the Church Of Christ distributed 3,000 face masks and 680 care packages filled with groceries, hand sanitizers, and paper towels, in the DMV region (Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia).
On August 19, 2020, the Church helped indigenous communities in the Berens River Watershed. Clothes for all ages and toys for children were donated to the communities of Poplar Hill First Nation, Ontario and Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba.
Aside from this, Church members from Winnipeg also prepared care packages for the Berens River Watershed communities of Pikangikum, Ontario and Pauingassi, Manitoba.
On September 8 and 9, over 10,000 face masks were donated to a dozen select schools in the Prairie Provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, namely the Andrew Mynarski VC School, Ecole Leila North Community School, Greenway School, Sargent Park School, and St. John’s High School (Manitoba Province); Carlton Comprehensive, Hope’s Home Child Care, Humboldt Public, O.M. Irwin School, Pleasant Hill Community School, Winston Churchill School, and W.P. Bate Community School (Saskatchewan Province) and the Wainwright School in Alberta.
In Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, the Church provided in October several hundred care packages, which included basic food necessities, face masks, face shields, school supplies, and personal hygiene items, to more than 200 members of the Soowahlie First Nation.
INC members from the Hampton Roads Region and North Carolina joined the Aid to Humanity event in Norfolk, Virginia on October 31. They gave out care packages that included groceries and other essential products. The event, held at the Military Circle Mall parking area, benefited at least 500 community members. Licensed medical professionals were also onsite to administer free flu vaccinations via drive-thru.
Through the INC’s Aid to Humanity outreach program, volunteers prepared and then delivered on October 31, 2020 a total of 1,000 care packages for the residents of Astoria Houses in Queens, New York. The care packages consisted of canned goods, face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers.
On the first week of November 2020, INC members in Connecticut prepared 1,000 care packages which included essential goods and toiletries. The care packages were delivered to the Department of Rehabilitation Services in Windsor, Connecticut, and entrusted to Commissioner Amy Porter of the Department of Aging and Disability Services.
In response to the pandemic crisis reaching Africa, the Ecclesiastical Districts of Northern and Southern Africa joined the Church’s Aid to Humanity missions, reaching out to Kenya and Uganda in June 2020, and distributing 1,000 food packs in Lusaka, Zambia including the Little Angel Orphanage on April 17, 2020, respectively.
All for God’s glory
“What the Bible says, which is to help our fellowmen, is truly timely. That is why the Church Of Christ, from the beginning, has had two guiding rules. To serve God and to help our fellow man. This is the foundation of the Church Of Christ,” said Brother Glicerio B. Santos Jr., Church’s General Auditor.