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Local church helps alleviate ‘Asian rice crisis’

Posted: October 3, 2008 9:35 p.m.
Updated: December 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

Members of All Saints Church in Newhall made charity contributions in September that ultimately fed many hungry families in Northern Mindanao, Philippines.

In August, Bishop Raymundo Abogatal of Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer in Gingoog City, Northern Mindanao visited the Newhall congregation to speak about the "Asian Rice Crises."

The crises came about in 2008 when the price of rice doubled in Asia due to lack of farming, rising global oil prices, and weather including a draught in Australia, said Joann Maciejewski of All Saints Church.

Rice is the main diet staple of the Philippines.

The congregation learned from Abogatal that the average worker in the southern islands of the Philippines, making only two-dollars a day, cannot afford enough rice to feed his family.

"We found out there was a big problem there because of the economy," said Maciejewski. "So we took up a collection at service."

All Saints Church only has a congregation of about 40 but they were quickly able to see the grand results of their giving.

The Bishop of the Gingoog sister church immediately sent pictures to the Newhall of their church members distributing the rice to hungry Filipinos.

"Within six days our money was within the people's hands," said Diane Thomas who donated along with her husband, Jim Thomas, to the cause.

"It's refreshing to know it gets there," she said.

Diane Thomas, an avid charity donor, said there is always some underlying worry about whether the money will make it to the people in need or whether it will end up in the hands of corrupt con men.
"A lot of the times you donate and you don't see the results," Thomas said.

Everday Sunday in September, Abogatal and his church gave away three kilo bags of rice to an average of 46 families.

The congregation plans to take up additional donations throughout the year to continue the efforts in Mindanao, Maciejewski said.

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