Bengaluru, Oct 24: On the feast of their founder St Antony Claret, the Bangalore Claretians inaugurated the Mother’s Meal program in Uganda to provide support for families in distress due to COVID.
Fr Joy Mampallikunnel cmf distributed Mother’s Meal Kit to 50 families at the Kiyunga parish in Jinja Diocese, it was the beginning of the movement into another continent that started in India three months ago by the Bangalore Claretians .
A similar distribution happened at Katukuru Church in Mbarara diocese where Fr Sebastian Muthukattil cmf provided the Kits to another 50 families, a fitting program launched on the feast of their founder St Antony Claret.
Doing the distribution for the most impoverished among the rural poor in his parish, Fr Joy said, “This is a great jpgt we can provide to our people during the pandemic when people are really struggling to survive”. Fr Joy was just last week made the delegate superior of the Claretian Delegation of East Africa. Fr Joy from Kerala, India has been working there for about 30 years.
Fr Sebastian while expressing his happiness about being able to provide the Mother’s Meal Kit containing essential items worth about 700 rupees every month hereafter for a year said that, “We owe our gratitude to the Macau team of Claretians for their generosity that has made this happen.” Fr Sebastian said that though everyone is in need, we are focusing on families with disabilities, terminal illness, widows and elderly without any support, as per the objectives of the Mother’s Meal program. We selected the beneficiaries from every village we work”, he said.
Fr Jijo Kandamkulathil cmf, missionary in Macau, China organised the fund raising for Mother’s Meal through promotions in Macau with his volunteers. “People here understand the struggles of others. They want to contribute to ensure that no one dies of hunger”, said Fr Jijo who organised an evening with his volunteers for the feast of St Claret. “We have raised enough money to support 100 families in Uganda for an year with a Mother’s Meal Kit”, said Fr Jijo. His team provides Mother’s Meal for 50 migrant labourers every month in Macau.
Fr George Kannanthanam who initiated the Mother’s Meal program in India in July said, “We are extremely happy to see the movement reaching to four countries in three months”. He said that the objective of Mother’s Meal was to ensure that no one dies due to hunger created by COVID.
“We started with just five families in July” said Fr Mario Zalki, another Claretian priest who is one of the thirteen founder members of Mother’s Meal program. “We extended the program to every state in India by August. In September we started in Nepal with the support from Claretians in Hongkong, supporting people affected by leprosy and disabilities” said Fr Mario, who coordinates with the grass root level agencies in the States who identify the families in distress and provide the Kit every month.
As per the report from Secretary General of United Nations Mr Antonio Guterres, on October 15th, World Hunger Day, 130 million people will be added to the existing 690 million already living in hunger in the world. Thus there would be 820 million worldwide are destined to live in hunger. It is this situation that Mother’s Meal is trying to address.
“The beauty of Mother’s Meal is that it is a Family to Family Support,” said Sibu George another founder member who has been working with the Claretians since 20 years. He added that “all of us as families have a responsibility to the society. Mother’s meal is a simple way in which all families can support just one more family in difficulty with just five hundred rupees. If all of us contribute our mite, we can reduce the COVID induced hunger in the world”. Sibu has been coordinating the Mother’s Meal program with the Distress Management Collective India to reach Mother’s Meal program to 1400 families under palliative care in Kerala.
The details of how people could support the program is given in the website www.mothersmeal.life