Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) Hosts Celebration of Giving for SickKids Hospital and North York Harvest Food Bank

Even amid a pandemic, the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, the humanitarian arm of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), continues to find ways to make a difference.

Toronto, October 31, 2020:  The Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation’s Aid to Humanity program gave cash grants of $10,000 to the SickKids Hospital and $5,000 along with more than 18,000 lbs of essential food items to North York Harvest Food Bank (NYHFB), in a ceremonial event held at the INC chapel in 71 Guestville Avenue, Toronto.

The donation is part of the Church’s support to the COVID-19 pandemic response.

For the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church of Christ, the charitable event is another way to celebrate the birthday of Executive Minister Brother Eduardo Manalo, in honour of his advocacy of providing humanitarian help through local and international projects.

Keen on physical distancing, the program setup brings communities together thru WebEx joined by 762 households on October 31, at 71 Guestville Avenue, Toronto. The in-person event was attended by a limited number of 15 attendees in the Function Hall with everyone required to wear a facial covering.

Through the partnership with FYM Foundation, with its President and director, Brother Glicerio B. Santos Jr, INC members were quickly mobilized and created an unprecedented 300 food assistance drives in different venues, involving 117 provinces in the Philippines. Similarly, 58 other countries would conduct parallel programs in 116 sites.

Across Canada, the flagship project Aid to Humanity was organized according to its mandate. One hundred thirty-eight local congregations in the country supported charitable events and rendered direct assistance to food banks, fire, police departments, foundations, schools, and non-government organizations.

2020 October 31, Toronto, Ontario—Kiersten Eyes, SickKids Foundation Associate Director, Community Partnership, receives the cash grant of $10,000.00 from Brother Glendo Baitan, the district supervising minister of the District of GTA. (Photo by Jessica Garcia)

In Toronto’s event, the SickKids Foundation received a grant of $10,000 for its vision of Healthier Children. A Better World. The Hospital leads in child health care education and discoveries from their research-intensive findings to ensure children live longer, healthier lives.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the economy to shift its operation mode on several fronts and multiple ways. Food banks were severely impacted and consequently facing increased demand for support and strained operational capacity.

Henry Chiu, Director of Development and Marketing of the NYHFB, confirmed, “During these challenging times, the need for food assistance over the past seven months has risen by more than 75% compared to last year’s. 30% of food bank users go without food for an entire day so that they can pay their bills”.

“One third are children,” Chiu added.

2020 October 31, Toronto, Ontario—Mrs. Salma Zahid, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Center, acknowledges the INC and the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation for bringing the community together in a virtual setting of INC’s 762 families in Greater Toronto  (Photo by Jessica Garcia)

Mrs. Salma Zahid, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Center, lauded the Church of Christ’s efforts and the FYM Foundation to bring the community together and help the vulnerable population. “The amount donated by the Foundation will go a long way.”

Councillor Frances Nunziata of Ward 5, and former Mayor of the old City of York, positively acknowledged the Church of Christ members’ work. She said that raising money for the SickKids Hospital and donating food to NYHFB need to be highlighted. She confirmed the City is doing its best to provide services. Still, it’s heartbreaking to note that many are experiencing mental illness and depression because people lost their jobs and businesses are going bankrupt.

Councillor Nunziata congratulates the Church of Christ volunteers who have reached out to her constituency who were hard-hit by the pandemic.

Consul General Orontes V. Castro of the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto also greeted Brother Eduardo V. Manalo on his birthday. He said the Church has always been his inspiration to do good, even back when he was growing up in Manila, Philippines.

The FYM Foundation will continue to help organizations that provide emergency relief and assistance in communities where there are congregations and members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. The focus is on donating essential food items and personal care items (PPEs) to support vulnerable populations.

“This year, the Executive Minister directed the Church to sustain the assistance program despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus health emergency,” Brother Glicerio B. Santos Jr said.

2020 October 31, Toronto, Ontario—Henry Chiu, North York Harvest Food Bank’s Director of Development and Marketing receives $10,000.00 and 18,000 lbs of essential food items from Brother Glendo Baitan, the district supervising minister of the District of GTA. (Photo by Jessica Garcia)

“We are picking up the pace after the slow and steady relaxation of health restrictions. The INC provided PPE (personal protective equipment) and medicine to hospitals and LGUs (local government units) in the first few months of the pandemic. Still, we decided to expand the aid initiatives through the well-established Lingap fully,” he said.

“It so happens that we are re-launching ‘Lingap‘ on the birthday of our Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo. It’s but fitting because this was his idea, to begin with, several years ago,” he added. ###

-Tess de Jesus, Far West Herald