In this time of global pandemic, many people in our country are facing trials and tribulations. COVID-19 cases are spreading like wildfire every day, especially in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negeri Sembilan. Many individuals and organisations have promptly stepped forward, to reach out to those in need throughout the nation. Each parish has a special Ministry of the Poor, under the umbrella of the Parish Integral Human Development Ministry (PIHDM) which reaches out to the poor and destitute who seek protection, assistance, mercy and love.
Earlier this week, my Form Six classmates started a small online collection for a neighbourhood family in need. Everyone chipped in whatever amount they could, and within a few hours, we managed to collect a substantial amount for that family with three children. Taking a lead from that initiative, I then decided to do the same for the 300 Myanmar families in our Parish. These families are desperately in need of help, as the majority of them have lost their jobs and livelihood due to the pandemic, and are struggling to make ends meet. As a Parish, we are responsible to care for our own needy Parishioners.
Ever since the first lockdown in March 2020, we have provided cash aids to the Myanmar families in our Parish. However, our Myanmar Fund was running a deficit and thus the Ministry of the Poor started a collection campaign called “Adopt a Myanmar Family” which encouraged Parishioners to contribute a minimum of RM50 to our Parish account. An appeal letter was circulated to Parishioners and close friends earlier this week, and within 2 days, we managed to adopt and provide for 150 families.
The “Adopt a Myanmar Family” campaign will run till the end of this weekend, and all proceeds will be distributed to the respective families by Tuesday, 13 July 2021. This method of crowd-funding has proven to be the most effective and efficient way of assisting the Myanmar families in this time of need.
Besides the Myanmar Zomi community, we have quite a number of migrant and refugee families from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India who live within our Parish vicinity. About 100 of these families receive provision of groceries from our Ministry of the Poor on a monthly basis. Our Parish has been providing aid to them well before the global pandemic, including tuition classes for the children by our Parish Educare Ministry, every Monday and Tuesday. Classes are currently being conducted online.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, our Parish continues to remain true to our mission of reaching out to migrants and refugees who need our support. We will continue to play our part and make every effort in reaching out to as many individuals – adults and children alike – during this pandemic. Let us embrace them with joy and generosity, living for the glory of God.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy