Calauan, Laguna, Philippines, 2 May 2022 -- In 2010, upon the insistent request of Bp. Leo Drona SDB of the Diocese of San Pablo, the Salesian presence was established at Southville 7, at Calauan, Laguna to minister to the relocation areas of urban slum dwellers who were resettled by the government from the Metro Manila area.
Don Bosco Calauan is in the midst of densely populated relocated communities which are all teeming with young people from poorest and de-franchised relocated families. Since families have left their source of income when they were relocated, many are extremely poor. Gradually people engage in informal business to earn a living. However, many children are malnourished as well as families still struggle to survive due to the pandemic.
Moved by the situation of the people, since their arrival in 2010 the Salesians have launched livelihood programs. Since over 3 years now, the Don Bosco Feeding Program is on-going despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fr. Ferdinand Camilo is present among the 25 volunteers serving as cooks and helpers in food preparation. Br. Ronnel Tiu accompanies the meal distribution to 3 surrounding areas (Site 1, Site 2, Site 3) within the National House Authority relocation sites. At the moment a list of 3500 children and adults daily receive lugaw (rice porridge) or champorado (chocolate porridge) for breakfast and then rice with a side dish for lunch. This is a total of 7,000 meals a day. Every 6 months the list of recipients is updated, and every recipient is evaluated to verify who still needs to be part of the feeding program. New names are also added.
Fr. Jeffrey Mangubat, Rector, keeps regularly updates the benefactors like Rise Against Hunger (Philippines), some Foundations and individual donors who which to remain anonymous enable the community to help those who are really poor.
Ensuring that 7,000 meals a day is available to poor and de-franchised families is indeed a challenging task, but the Lord continually reminds the Salesians that when we work for the poorest and in need Divine Province will never be wanting.