Surrey, British Columbia – Five shelters in British Columbia, Canada each received a $1,000 cheque donation and a total of 250 personalized care packages on October 27, 2021 from the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ). This humanitarian mission by the Church is in connection with its worldwide “Lingap Sa Mamamayan” (Aid To Humanity) initiative conducted this month of October.
The shelters that benefited from the generous donation included Gateway Shelter, Parkway Shelter, Guildford Shelter, Riverside Shelter, and New Westminster Shelter—all of which are under the Lookout Society, an organization that offers a wide range of programs for vulnerable adults living with multiple challenges.
Jessika Schmidtke, Program Coordinator for the Lookout Housing and Health Society said their residents felt cared for when they received the personalized care packages from the INC.
“Oftentimes that I hear from our guests and residents, and the people that we serve is that they feel forgotten by the community. They don’t feel (that) anyone cares about them, so for them to receive something … a specialized gift that … it makes them feel human again.”
The care packages consisted of granola bars, toothbrush/toothpaste, towel, socks, women’s products, shampoo/conditioner, bath soap, lotion, disposable shaver/shaving cream, deodorants, wet wipes, and hand sanitizers.
INC ministers and volunteers delivered the care packages to the shelters, while other members of the community received their share during the culminating activity for the day held at the INC chapel grounds in Surrey, BC.
According to Statistics Canada, more than 235,000 people in the country experience homelessness in any given year, while 25,000 to 35,000 people may be experiencing homelessness on any given night.
In British Columbia alone, in a 2018 Report on Homeless Counts in BC, a total of 7,655 individuals were identified as experiencing homelessness. They included 219 children who were under the age of 19 and accompanied by a parent or guardian. The majority were sheltered (63%) and 37% were unsheltered.
Luke Johnson, a Volunteer Director for the Lookout Foundation, said that because of COVID, there has been increased pressure on families and individuals in the Vancouver area.
“And so Lookout has increased its housing support, and increased its food and other emergency supplies for individuals,” he said.
“It’s great. Every piece that’s contributed to an organization like Lookout goes directly towards serving people who are in need. These donations are very helpful,” Johnson added.
Troy Balderson, Guildford Shelter Manager said, “Our folks in our society can always use a helping hand.”
“You know, as a nonprofit, we stretch every dollar as far as we can. Sometimes making $3 out of $1 by innovation and collaboration and social partnerships just as this, so you know, it’s an integral and imperative part of what we do. It’s very important, very appreciated,” he said.
INC Minister of the Gospel, Brother Moriel Cadacio, who oversees the INC congregations in British Columbia emphasized the significance of the said activity.
“There will be more people who will be able to understand what this Church is all about. We help people who are in need because that is the teaching of God written in the Bible …We do this as we fulfill the commandments of our Almighty God. This is because of our great love to the community … to those who are in need.”
Through humanitarian efforts of the Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation, the charitable arm of the INC, and the INC Giving Project, donations, community service and all other types of socio-civic activities continue to be conducted by the Church all over the world. INC members and volunteers aim to extend help and contribute positively to their communities, most especially to those in need.
The Iglesia Ni Cristo was registered in the Philippines on July 27, 1914 by its first Executive Minister, Brother Felix Y. Manalo. Since then, the Church has spread to 159 countries and territories around the world, with its members coming from 148 ethnic backgrounds. The rapid growth of the Church is spearheaded by the dynamic leadership of the current Executive Minister of the Church, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
About the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church Of Christ
For more about the Church and its activities, please visit www.iglesianicristo.net.