by Sr. Vincy Thankachan
Covid – 19… a present day threat; a pandemic that sends down your spine a chill of uncertainty, anxiety and fear. From distributing food to providing masks and sanitizers to contributing monetary aid many NGO’s have united to help citizens and government and to fight the virus, that is spreading rapidly.
The sudden move of the initiation of the lockdown by the government, despite the call not to panic, has inevitably set in motion an unparalleled situation with thousands of people across the nation being stranded away from their homes – made to walk on highways towards their hometowns/villages as far away as 500 to 1000 kilometers. Thousands of people are seen trekking back to their homes with their entire family in toe along with their meagre belongings. This is indeed a grave humanitarian crisis which stirs a tempest within us and fails to calm our restlessness by staying at home and staying safe refusing to heed to the desperate cry outside our windows of the poor, migrants, old and destitute, HIV/ AIDS patients and beggars.
Canossian Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor (FDCC), is an apostolic religious congregation spread worldwide comprising of religious women who march out consistently and creatively making Jesus known and loved through their charitable ministries of Education, Evangelization, Pastoral care of the sick and socio pastoral activities. “Walk with the times,” a wise inspiring reflection of St. Magdalene of Canossa, the foundress of the Canossian Daughters of Charity is an added driving force to plunge into action and respond to the emerging needs at the peripheries. We, the Canossians serving in the South East India Delegation (comprising of the state of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha) have moved out of the comfort zones of our convents and made ourselves active on the streets and have been a ray of hope and consolation to those victims locked in migrant homes, scattered on several railway platforms, accommodated in bus stations and shut in their homes with the prevailing lock down. The following is a gist of our small drop of Christian charity extended to our needy poor floating in a vast ocean of despair and panic.
FDCC manufactures Masks for free Distribution to combat the pandemic Corona Virus – Covid 19
The humanity trembles due to the menace of the pandemic Corona Virus – Covid 19. As an immediate act of concern to make our closeness felt toward those persons who are the most affected, quarantined and for everyone, FDCC manufactured over seven hundred masks. The masks were stitched by the Tailoring centre at Veeraghattam and several sisters in our different areas of work. The motive was to distribute them freely for the poor people in and around the area and those who need them especially where the Canossian sisters are present. The masks were also distributed to the government officials, police personnel, migrants, HIV patients and volunteers conducting door to door surveys.
FDCC distributes Food & Sanitizing Kits amid Covid-19 Pandemic
Mahatma Gandhi states, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Similarly, quite a few NGOs, individuals and businesses have already been pitching in to help the citizens and government through various initiatives with the hope that humanity would survive these dreadful times of corona virus onslaught. FDCC, pledged to deliver food kits for the migrant families, old and destitute, HIV/ AIDS patients, poor in the neighborhood, beggars stranded on railway platforms and many more deserving needy in the areas viz., Draksharam, Nellipaka, Paikaraopeta, Visakhapatnam, Veeraghattam, Bathili and Jubo thus facilitating its distribution of essential commodities in the absence of employment opportunities. Another essential agent that was distributed was bathing soap and washing detergents to the HIV/ AIDS patients and children, old and destitute and poor in the neighborhood. Our collaborators in the ministry had the privilege of using hand sanitizers distributed for their safety and risk prevention.
FDCC reaches out to the hungry in their neighborhood
The whole country is in lockdown; number of daily migrant laborers stuck in the city with no work; the homeless face problems to survive and run pillar to post to have at least a single meal a day. They eagerly wait for someone to help them fill their bellies. These unfortunate victims and their families need temporary assistance to survive to get along and face the disastrous Corona Virus. At this point, FDCC planned to give 150 daily meals to beggars and migrants. One of our communities in Paikaraopeta fed a group of 50 stranded truck drivers at the start of lock down. Our sisters from the community of Visakhapatnam strive day in and day out to provide a nutritious meal to many in the municipality of Visakhapatnam never forgetting the police personnel. The destitutes have indeed witnessed a Good Samaritan during this lockdown.
FDCC stands with the police personnel
With the scorching summer sun beating its glowing rays on our foreheads, it’s indeed a sad thing to witness our police personnel standing for hours on the roads and maintaining law and discipline among the public. Seeing the plight of these ministers of safety, the sisters decided to provide ORS drinks and ease their stress of the heat. It’s indeed a great opportunity to extend a helping hand to the deserving warriors.
FDCC gives an awareness class
As the number of confirmed corona virus Covid-19 cases in India continues to rise, particularly in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, an awareness class to our staff and the migrants was given advising that people should frequently and thoroughly wash hands with soap & water, using barrier methods like masks, gloves and social distancing. We are all called to educate everyone on the importance of developing a habit of personal hygiene while avoiding transmission of the virus from one to another.