food, shelter and dignity. A Catholic foundation that helps the homeless

The Arnold Janssen Kalinga Foundation works in the capital to help hundreds of people in need. Está diManila: food, shelter and dignity. A Catholic foundation that helps the homeless run by Father Flavie L. Villanueva of the Divine Word Society. For many people, this program “changed their lives,” opened their hearts and minds, and “gave back their lost dignity.”

Manila () – An aid program “that changed my life. It opened my heart and mind, restored my lost dignity” thanks to “service and generosity” to others. Kuya Allen tells a story of redemption and rebirth. She is one of the many homeless people who were taken in at a healing and assistance program run in Manila by Fr. Flavie L. Villanueva, priest of the Society of the Divine Word. Allen enthusiastically joined the Kalinga Foundation’s Open Hearts and Minds recovery program and today she works for others in need, cooking and serving food.

He hopes that his story of a homeless man who has redeemed himself can be an example to others in the same situation. And at the same time he confesses that he misses his children who remained in Leyte, an island in the Visayas archipelago, 565 km south of the capital.

The institution was born in 2015 by the work of Fr. Villanueva and its full name is Arnold Janssen Kalinga Foundation Inc., in memory of the German saint (November 5, 1837-January 15, 1909) who founded, among others, the Society of Divine Word. In the early days, he was in charge of feeding about a hundred homeless people who lived on the streets of Manila every day. Today there are more than 200 and they can also benefit from a bed and lodging in the dozens of centers distributed in the capital. The mission? Bring joy, solidarity and warmth to those who live on the street, without a home or family.

The name already contains the meaning of his work: “Kalinga” is formed from the words “Kain-Ligo-Nang-Ayos”, which means “one hot meal and one bath a day”, and took its current form in 2017. when it was officially registered with the government, on March 8 of that year. For many marginalized it is a symbol of hope, as explained by Fr. Villanueva, whose desire is to build “a society in which no one is left behind and in which everyone is treated with dignity.”

Following the words that Pope Francis has repeated so many times, the members of the foundation want to “offer opportunities to people who are on the peripheries of society, the hungry and the thirsty, the marginalized and the abandoned”, continues the priest. In addition to a meal and a hot bath, they are offered the chance to complete their studies (primary or secondary), learn a profession and begin a path of spiritual and human development.

Guests are people abandoned or on the run from their families, ex-criminals or ex-convicts with no place to shelter, all united by the “3H’s”: help, home, hope. It has the collaboration of men and women volunteers, such as the young Lilibeth Ma Grace Calderon who considers that the center is an opportunity to “find Jesus and serve the little ones.” JR Torres, for his part, explains that thanks to his work in close contact with the latter, he has rediscovered the value and beauty of faith. One of the “most significant lessons – he says – was to never give up and have confidence in God’s plans, no matter how difficult life may seem at a certain moment”. And “I understood -he concludes- how important it is to strive to be a good person and spread positivity in every possible way.”

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Written by Editor TLN

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