05 May Friars in India: “Thank you for helping us help others”
“We thank the friars for their readiness to go out and reach out to the needy. How? By offering food! That’s the basic need at this time. There are thousands of people who live from hand to mouth, on a daily basis. With the deprivation of jobs, there are many who have lost their livelihood! And COVID-19 has done this to millions.”
With these words, Br. Praveen Henry D’Souza, Provincial Minister of the Province of St. Thomas the Apostle, India, illustrated how it is the poor who suffer most during this global pandemic. Br. Praveen was giving a presentation of the friars’ activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — this is his way of thanking the benefactors who have helped the friars help others.
Since the lockdown, the Province of India has been engaged in a wide variety of activities, including:
- The Anthony’s Bread Centre has made food parcels available to families and individuals, helping an average of 700 people daily.
- The local parish in Dindigulhas distributed sacks of rice and other relief supplies to daily labourers, blind people,and marginalised
- The Franciscan NGO,Nesakkaram SEEDS, went to the slums of Chennai to distribute provisions and vegetables to poor families, and especially to the migrant families who have been left without They assisted over 1,000 families in a week.
- The friars and people of Francis Friary in Kochi got a loan of 11 sewing machines from homes and convents and have made and distributed more than 6,500 masks for hospitals, police, drivers, migrant workers, fishermen, those who live by scavenging, and the poor.
- With the support of benefactors, the friars have also helped leper colonies, remote tribal villages, nomad communities, and many other vulnerable members of Indian society.
Br. Praveen ends his message of thanks to the “many people who have come forward to help us to help others. There are many out there who want to reach out but have no idea how. To them I can still say: the friars will do this on your behalf! We are just a call (or click) away. The small presentation (PDF) here will give you an idea of number of people that we have reached and the growing need that will be a challenge to meet. But I know that the Lord will send his angels and messengers to meet these needs!”