The Archdiocese of Cebu, through its S.A.C.R.E.D. F.O.R.C.E.S. (Sustaining the Archdiocese of Cebu’s Charity, Resiliency, Empowerment and Development by Forming, Organizing Resilient Communities and Enabling Stewards), under the leadership of Cebu Caritas, Inc., has initiated the Archbishop Teofilo Camomot Buhat sa Kaluoy Program (Abp. Teofilo Camomot Works of Mercy Program) to “provide basic material relief to families” (Circular 8/20).
One of the basic needs identified was food-banking in order to help poor families in this time of COVID-19 Pandemic. In collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, both in the Province of Cebu, and cities of Cebu and Mandaue, the Relief and Rehabilitation Unit of the Archdiocese was tasked by Fr. Alex K. Cola, Jr., the chairman of Cebu Caritas Inc., to take lead in implementing food sustainability in the communities.
The food sustainability project involves designating a lot in the parishes and transforming them into “sub-nurseries” where fast growing vegetables may grow, and in turn seedlings may be distributed to the poor families so they may cultivate their own food.
The City Agriculture of Mandaue has turned over last May 14, 2020 the following seedlings to the National Shrine of St. Joseph Parish in Mandaue City: 50 eggplant seedlings; 50 tomato seedlings; 2 basins of malabar nightshade (alugbati); 2 basins of spring onions (sibuyas dahonan); 2 basins of okra.
Bishop Midyphil Billones, the Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu and at the same time the Pastor of the said National Shrine, has expressed his interest and his full support for this endeavor of the Archdiocese as it may become an avenue to help those who may have less in terms of food sustainability, and may also become a livelihood opportunity for the Basic Ecclesial Communities in the parishes even after this Pandemic. (Credit: Rev. Fr. Charles Louis N. Jayme, Caritas Relief and Rehabilitation Unit – Cebu)