Initiative seeks to send a message of love and unity to defeat the virus, promoters said.
A simple text message sent to Adventist friends in mainland China raised US$20,000 in less than 12 hours, Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) leaders reported.
Samuel Wang, a Chinese evangelist to the SSD region, coordinated the fundraising project via group chat to help people seriously affected by the lockdown in the Philippines due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first distribution of rice in the municipality of Silang, Cavite, started on April 3, 2020. In it, more than 1,260 families represented by tricycle drivers, care group members, and utility personnel received sacks of rice and Adventist literature. Recipients were advised about strict social distancing while waiting in line, to prevent the spread of disease.
The rice distribution was implemented with the close supervision of the municipal security and health office, together with the tricycle drivers association’s administration, to make sure of proper distribution while keeping to health safety measures.
Together with the rice, local church members distributed Adventist literature to families in need in Silang, Cavite, Philippines, in early April 2020. [Photo: Southern Asia-Pacific Division News]
According to reports, leaders of an SSD care group also listed the families in their respective care groups that potentially needed food assistance.
Underprivileged families living in slums and makeshift houses in six different locations in Silang, Cavite, were some of the primary recipients of the rice donations. SSD campus workers like security guards, gardeners, caretakers, carpenters, and utility workers were recipients of the gift as well.
The second batch of rice distribution was organized four days later. According to organizers, more than 890 families benefited that day. Overall, leaders reported, more than 400 sacks of rice were distributed in the two initiatives.
“The people in China also suffered, so they understand the challenges that people are facing here [in the Philippines],” Wang said. “They wanted to send a message that through unity, by love and working together, we can overcome this virus, so many helped out and responded to this call.”
Mobility and social gatherings are strictly prohibited due to the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) implemented by the government in the entire Luzon Island in the Philippines. Despite the current situation, joint efforts from local government units and private entities run operations distributing relief goods in various cities in Luzon. Operations were organized to help sustain basic family needs of individuals locked down in their houses and unable to work for almost a month due to the continuously growing pandemic, regional leaders said.