(Eagle New) — The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) through its charitable arm, the Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation, recently conducted an Aid For Humanity program in Winnipeg, Canada to help poor communities there.
The event was held on September 28, 2018 at the Turtle Island Recreation Center located in the North End of Winnipeg. It was witnessed by two members of Canada’s Legislative Assembly who expressed admiration for the Church’s efforts to help the poor communities in the area.
The North End is considered one of the poorest communities in Winnipeg where there is inadequate housing, food insecurity, high crime rate, and rampant drug abuse.
The event organizers strategically chose the venue.
“We decided to have them here instead of them traveling, let’s bring it to them where it’s needed,” said Mr. Jeiel Robregado, a Minister of the Gospel in the Iglesia Ni Cristo and one of the event organizers.
Guests, including nearby residents, the homeless, and clients at local shelters, were given the care packages filled with canned goods, and toiletries, such as soap and toothpaste, these packages were handed out and hot meals were served.
Judy Klassen, MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) for Kewatanook was also in attendance to support the event.
“I’m just so glad that this organization exists. You know it’s so reassuring to know that there’s still good Christian people out there who totally abide by the laws that we were given through the Bible, and it’s just amazing to still be touched by them.”
As only the second ever female First Nations member of the Legislative Assembly, she understands the value of this humanitarian effort.
“It’s not only the physical goods but the emotional thing that will touch them and make them realize that they are cared for and that people love them,” Klassen said.
Another member of the Legislative Assembly, Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Burrows, noted the exceptional impact of the event.
“You come to any Church of Christ event, and you’re just uplifted. The people are welcoming, they are hospitable, you can tell they have a sincere care for others,” she said.
INC Minister Robregado said members of the church have been preparing for the program for several weeks.
The local church basement was transformed into a care package assembly line where volunteers packed thousands of care packages for the homeless, refugees, new immigrants and low-income families.
Eventually, the basement became too small for the number of packages, so the volunteers utilized the recreation center to house the care packages. Over 3000 care packages were prepared and filled with food items and hygiene products.
The event was attended by many neighborhood locals and community leaders who were treated to food and beverages, live entertainment, and video presentations.
Recipients were impressed by the event and overwhelmed with gratitude.
“In this area, it’s a low income area, I’ve been suffering a little through poverty myself. I’m in between jobs. It has been a struggle financially for food,” said Edison Erskine.
“These care packages do help, you see the value. I can turn around and buy something different, something for the kids, buy something for me. This has been beautiful. I love the Church of Christ for the very fact that I’ve seen the amount of people that showed up, and more people should step up like this.”
According to a report released by Campaign 2000, Manitoba’s child and family poverty rate was the highest in the country at 27.5 percent which is more than 10 percent above the national rate.
Despite Canada being amongst the world’s wealthiest nations, over 4 million Canadians still live below the poverty line.
In Manitoba alone, more than one in 3.5 children lived in poverty during 2014.
Winnipeg also has the highest population of indigenous people in Canada, and of this population, which includes First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, 35% are living below the poverty line.
The INC had also conducted similar humanitarian efforts in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, where help was desperately needed after the historic fires in 2016, devastated the city, destroying close to 1600 homes. Members of the Church Of Christ gathered at evacuation centres throughout Alberta to give relief goods to the citizens affected by the fires.
The Church Of Christ upholds the Christian teaching of loving our fellow man by extending help, doing good, and sharing with those who are in need, no matter what religious belief they hold.
(with a report from Katrina Laberinto from Winnipeg, Canda, and a release from INC-Public Information Office)