“God Is Love” Charity Program: Vietnamese Jesuits in Mekong Delta Region Respond to COVID-19

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24 August 2021 – Many provinces and Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta have imposed more restrictions and preventive measures as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread over the region. The measures require local people to stay at home, gatherings of two or more people to be prohibited in public places, and public transportation services to be halted. As a result, many people cannot buy basic commodities, suffer a severe lack of food, even have no food to eat for over a week.
Chinh Tran, SJ

Chinh Tran, SJ

AMDG

In collaboration with religious of some congregations, benefactors, and volunteers, the Jesuits in Can Tho, have organized an assistance program entitled “God is Love” during the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of supporting low-income families who are seriously affected by COVID-19 in Can Tho.

Sisters from the Sisters of the Divine Providence and the Daughters of Our Lady of Binh Thuy collaborate with the program to provide donations to the needy.

“When I was assigned to the Jesuit community in Can Tho city during the COVID-19 pandemic, I first observed the situation of low-income families, workers, students, and lottery ticket vendors who have been struggled the most by the pandemic. I realized that they didn’t have enough food for their daily meals. ‘Give them some food yourselves.’ I was inspired, encouraged, and comforted by the words of Jesus. I decided to do something to help the poor."

Fr. Joseph Nguyen Tuan Phuc, SJ, Coordinator of the Program

Jesuits and volunteers prepare food donations and distribute them for the needy

This initiation of Fr. Phuc has been strongly supported by his fellow Jesuits in Can Tho. With the support of benefactors and the Province’s Social Apostolic Office, the program has raised a total of VND 910 million (USD 39.565) in donations to help families affected by the pandemic. The program has provided 45 tons of rice, 3.500 bottles of fish sauce, 2.000 kg of sugar, and 1.000 kg of fish, eggs, and vegetables. Many people were shedding tears when they received rice and gifts from the program.

To help the program in providing food donations for the needy, Fr. Peter Nguyen Duc Thang, SJ, has invited volunteers from the Examen Prayer group to join the program and assisted them in visiting poor families in affected areas. Br. John Tran Hong Long, SJ and Sch. Dominic Phan Van Quynh, SJ, have also visited and sent gifts to families in lockdown areas.

Two kids help their parents to label the theme of the program on donations

“The core message of our program is God makes his love grow in the hearts of people of goodwill amid sufferings caused by the pandemic. For this reason, we labeled the theme of our program: ‘God is Love’ on food donations before sending them to struggling families,” adds Fr. Tuan Phuc. Besides this program, the Jesuits also support rice for a charity kitchen to provide free meals for the poor.

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