Mingo for Baao: A Journey of Hope, Faith and Love

Mingo for Baao: A Journey of Hope, Faith and Love

This article is reproduced from the original Facebook post of Jane Barcenas-Bisuña, the mom of Abram Bisuña, one of NVC’s young ambassadors. Though now based in Manila, their family hails from Baao in Bicol. They have been raising funds and coordinating with NVC as well as volunteers on the ground, to bring Mingo to the children of their hometown, which has been hard hit by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.

Two major typhoons devastated Luzon recently—leaving thousands of people without food, clothes, shelter and livelihood. Our hometown Baao, Camarines Sur wasn’t spared. The hardship experienced by already very poor families was aggravated. Hungry and undernourished children are among those who suffer the most. In the midst of it all, let me share this amazing story of hope, faith and love.

Hope inspires

On November 12, donations and pledges started coming in from a few friends who wanted to help the most affected people in Baao, including children. I contacted NVC Foundation, and asked if they could send emergency relief to our town. NVC is a Negros-based not-for-profit organization that assists the poorest of the poor and hardest-to-reach communities in the Philippines. Abram, my 13-year old son, is one of its young ambassadors. Among other projects, NVC promotes good nutrition by providing Mingo Meals to undernourished children. Mingo is an instant food made of rice, monggo and malunggay—ingredients that are sourced from local farmers. During disasters, NVC sends Mingo to affected communities and has, in fact, already provided over 130,000 meals to Bicol. During this time, supply and logistics are a challenge so Abram and I could only hope for the best. After 3 days, NVC conveyed the good news that the Mingo boxes are already on their way to Baao! We only funded 5,000 Mingo meals but another donor, Playscape, made it 10,000! It’s amazing how blessings instantly multiply! Hope springs eternal!

Just before the typhoons devastated Bicol and many other parts of the Philippines, Abram and family prepared this video on his thoughts about what’s happening in the world today, and how people can help.

Faith allows

There are many volunteers already helping us distribute relief to families in Baao. But for Mingo, I carefully considered the best person or team to handle the project. Probably by divine intervention, on November 15 (a Sunday!), I thought of asking Rev. Father Louie Occiano—the very kind and humble Parish Priest of St. Bartholomew Parish, if he could do the job. He answered my call and gladly accepted the task of personally overseeing the distribution of Mingo meals to the children of Baao! During the same time, I read what Pope Francis said: “You pray for the hungry and then you feed them. That’s how prayer works!” So I realized it makes perfect sense that a servant of God, who blesses and prays for hungry children, feed them with Mingo, too! Also, NVC always says this when there are demands that funding couldn’t meet: do not worry, God will provide! It is indeed through faith in God’s grace that everything fell into place, so easily and perfectly!

Love delivers

Today, November 18, around 600 children from barangay San Francisco and San Jose finally enjoyed their first Mingo! Each child also took home 10 sachets of Mingo so they could have healthy breakfast for the next 10 days! Fr. Louie and his parish team took care of gathering the kids in the barangay chapels. Because it took time to prepare hundreds of Mingo meals on the spot, Fr. Louie entertained the kids so they won’t feel bored and agitated. A couple of young Baao volunteers helped in the feeding and distribution. They told me the children liked Mingo and they were all very happy and thankful! In one of the photos, you will see Fr. Louie and a boy named Ruben recreating the poster that Abram made to say thank you to all the donors and volunteers of #MingoforBaao! So cute! The volunteers also made sure that the kids along Diversion Road in San Francisco, who were not able to come to the chapel, get their share of Mingo! In the coming days, the team will visit 2-3 more villages, including those in the uplands, to give Mingo to more children. What else could have made all these happen but love?

 Abram′s Mingo for Baao cartoon features Father Louie Occiano of St. Bartholomew Parish rubbing his aching back after carrying Mingo boxes.

Abram′s Mingo for Baao cartoon features Father Louie Occiano of St. Bartholomew Parish rubbing his aching back after carrying Mingo boxes.

 Father Louie and Ruben, one of the young recipients of Mingo, recreate Abram′s cartoon during Mingo distribution day.

Father Louie and Ruben, one of the young recipients of Mingo, recreate Abram′s cartoon during Mingo distribution day.

 Young volunteers from Baao helped to distribute Mingo

Young volunteers from Baao helped to distribute Mingo

This morning, NVC said another 10,000 Mingo will be delivered to Baao soon! One sachet is 6 pesos (including logistics cost) so 10,000 sachets cost 60,000. This next batch of Mingo will feed another 1,000 children for 10 days. As of today, it is still unfunded. But I’ve already imbibed in me NVC’s mantra—God will provide!

To NVC, our donor friends and Playscape—and on behalf of the children of Baao: Thank you for your support! Salamat po sa tulong! Mabalos po sa tabang!


DONATE ONLINE

Send Mingo to evacuees of typhoons Rolly/Ulysses by making an online donation through Paypal or your credit card. If you’d like to send Mingo to Baao in particular, please specify “Mingo for Baao” in the online donation form’s special instructions.