Hungry street children and homeless adults around the University of San Jose-Recoletos will be provided with a free meal at least once a week by the university.
This after USJ-R launched yesterday the Lamesa ni San Jose (St. Joseph’s Table), a food-sharing program intended for the poor living within the vicinity of the university, in time for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the university’s patron.
“Hunger is still the number one problem in the country,” said Institute of Non-Formal Education and Community Outreach Program (INFECOP) director Bro. Jaazeal Jakosalem, OAR.
“This is our institutional response to the problem. We just cannot close our eyes,” he added.
During yesterday’s launching of the program at the university grounds, 83 children and adult were given a meal of rice, fried chicken, squash soup with coconut milk and banana.
Bro. Jakosalem said feeding the poor on the occasion of the feast of St. Joseph is an old tradition by the Catholic Church. He said the Cebuano phrase “magpa-San Jose” (loosely translated as “to do a San Jose”) means to do a charitable work such as feeding the poor in honor of the foster father of Jesus.
“We are reintroducing that practice especially that our school bears the name of St. Joseph,” he said. St. Joseph worked hard to provide for the needs of the Holy Family, he added.
The Order of the Augustinian Recollects (OAR) which runs USJ-R is also under the patronage and protection of St. Joseph.
Dr. Joan de Catalina, INFECOP supervisor, said beneficiaries of the food-sharing program are dwellers of surrounding streets like Magallanes, Borromeo, Leon Kilat and even as far as Colon.
She said succeeding food sharing will be done every Friday at dinner time. On Holy Week, the university will prepare a meal for the beneficiaries on Holy Monday.
Dr. de Catalina revealed that an organization of Hospitality Management students of USJ-R sponsored the first food-sharing activity. They were also the ones who personally cooked and prepared the food, supervised by their teacher Chef Richard Hao.
Bro. Jakosalem said the initiative would be sustainable because he is confident that the Josenian Community would respond to the call of addressing hunger problem by supporting it.
“Our generosity will answer the question of this program’s sustainability,” he said.
For those who would want to contribute (cash or in-kind), donation boxes are put up at the lobby of the main campus. You may also visit INFECOP office (beside SDPC) and look for Dr. de Catalina or call them at 253-7900 loc. 215. IPA