BSC KUCHING: With the MCO in June/July 2021 and the closure of many businesses, many workers especially daily paid workers were asked to stop work and were left without any income.
Pauline Lim, Head Servant of the Emmaus Servant Community (ESC), proposed to raise funds from among its Community members to help those affected. Based on past fund-raising projects, the ESC felt confident to raise RM5,000.00 to assist 25 families in need, giving RM200.00 to each family.
Later, with the support of Fr Patrick Heng, Rector of Blessed Sacrament (BSC) Parish and Thomas Ting, Chairman (at that time), of the BSC Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), the ESC decided to invite other ministries in the Blessed Sacrament Parish to jointly raise funds to help more needy families. A PPC meeting was called on 8 July 2021 during which a subcommittee “Pandemic Project Committee” (PPCom) was formed headed by Thomas Ngu.
It was decided that the assistance should not be one-off but should stretch over three months with the hope that the pandemic situation would improve and businesses open again by then. The committee also realised that many caring organisations and private individuals were, at that time, giving out food packages/baskets to those in need with particular reference to the “White Flag” initiative and the various Food Stations set up in several locations.
Fr Patrick suggested that the aid should be in the form of cash to help these needy families to pay for their rental, utility bills, petrol and other incidentals. After much deliberation, it was finally decided to set some guidelines for the parishioners to identify and introduce the needy families to the PPCom for approval and disbursement of funds:
- Priority be given to those in the urban areas.
- Each family shall be given either RM100.00, RM200.00 or RM300.00, depending on their needs.
- The assistance shall be either for 1, 2 or 3 months, depending on their needs.
With the assumption of RM300.00 for three months per family, a realistic target of RM45,000.00 for 50 families was set. The PPC and the Chinese Liaison Committee (CLC) committed RM5,000.00 and RM3,000.00 respectively to kick start the Pandemic project. The ESC pledged to raise RM5,000.00 a month over a three-month period from July to September 2021. The balance amount of RM22,000.00 was to be raised from the parishioners.
A letter of appeal for donations was then issued by Fr Patrick while the PPCom had their 1stmeeting on 11 July 2021 where many other details were finalised.
At the end of July 2021, a total amount of RM81,296.94 was collected to assist 104 families. These families were identified by “Introducers” from the various BSC ministries who went all out to identify the needy in their midst and neighbourhood.
In August 2021, another RM17,000.00 was collected. 28 families in need were added to the initial 104 families.
As of 11 September 2021, the total amount raised is RM101,459.86 with a shortfall of RM3,340.14 still needed to support these 132 families. The fund-raising project ends on 30 September 2021. The PPCom is confident that God will provide the balance amount of RM3,340.14 needed, through the generous donations of the parishioners in these last few weeks of September.
The small mustard seed (Matt 13:31-32) of the initial RM5,000.00 from the Emmaus Servant Community has grown into a big tree providing shade to 132 families. This Pandemic Project has shown us when Jesus multiplied the five loaves and two fishes to feed five thousand people (Matt 14:13-21), he too will do the same for us when we are willing to share our own five loaves and two fishes with others (Matt 14:16).
By Thomas Ngu