Human Development Committee, Sacred Heart Cathedral outreach for food pack distribution to Bukit Padang area

By Catherine Engsun

June 16 2020

John 3:27 – John answered “No one can take on anything if it has not been given him from heaven.”

KOTA KINABALU – The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and threatened the daily sustenance of vulnerable groups who are finding it tough to make ends meet.

In a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the government imposed the Movement Control Order, which has also brought economic despair especially to the hardest hit – the poor and destitute.

Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish KK – Human Development Committee (SHCKK-HDC) responded to the crisis and mounted their outreach programs to feed the poor and needy beginning Mar 19. The humanitarian efforts are still ongoing to date.

The ministry members and volunteers who rose to the challenge amidst the risks involved comprised local and migrant parishioners from the Cathedral parish and its sub-parish of Church of Mary Immaculate, Bukit Padang.

Initially, the requests for assistance were from a small number of migrant households. As the MCO prolonged, many more came forward seeking assistance. They were mainly factory workers, part-time domestic helpers, manual labourers, masseurs, masseuses, restaurant workers (dish washers, waiters and waitresses), etc.  Most of these have either been asked to take unpaid leave or they have lost their source of income altogether.

As the number of needy households increased, the ministry kick-started a “donation drive” effective Apr 4 to collect funds as well as donations in kind. The donations in kind consisted of rice, cooking oil, tinned sardines, eggs, noodles, sugar, salt, flour, etc were sorted out into food packs by volunteers prior to distribution to the households.

Separate teams of 15 volunteers were quickly organized to carry out the distribution of the food packs. Guided by the SOP set by the authorities during the MCO and CMCO, the teams, assisted by their counterparts from the parishes of Inanam, Papar and Penampang where the needy households were located, managed to assist a total of 1378 families. This number of households constitutes the locals and migrant needy families.

The ministry was gratified to see the spontaneous response when food and monetary assistance poured in from families and friends within and outside the Cathedral/sub parishes.

The donation drive is set to continue as more affected families are turning up to ask the parish for help. Cash contributions can be channelled to the Archdiocese Human Development Commission account @ Maybank Account No: 510143095678 made payable to RTDKK – Human Development. For tracking purposes, please forward the bank-in slips to 017-8231011 for record and acknowledgment.

For contributions in kind, please contact Sr Anita James FSIC at 011-14130472. A special mass will be offered in appreciation of all donors after the MCO is lifted.