Dear friends and family,
Recently, we've been inspired by the compassion of many Filipinos who have set up "community pantries" across the Philippines. What you'll see at each of these makeshift food stands is a sign that reads, "Magbigay ayon sa kakayahan, kumuha batay sa pangangailangan." In English, this says, "Give what you can, take what you need."
These gestures of generosity spread hope across a country unified by struggle during this pandemic. Motivated by the creativity and united compassion of Filipinos, we've set up our own community pantry providing free food at IT Tender. We are encouraged by our friends and local community who have already donated items from fresh to canned goods, from noodles to rice, and even hygiene supplies.
We will continue to accept any donations of food or funds to purchase items for the community pantry at IT Tender (email John Coffey at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to give). Thank you for providing hope and essential goods to those struggling through another lockdown in Manila.
While all of us have faced hardships of various kinds during this pandemic, some have endured particularly difficult circumstances. In our last newsletter, we shared that some of the families we serve (including our own daycare teacher Cecille) lost their homes in a recent fire. By God's grace and the generosity of our donors, we were able to provide relief goods and even building materials for some of the families who decided to remain in that area and rebuild.
Here are pictures of the rubble after the fire alongside pictures of the homes being rebuilt with the help of IT Tender...
One of the survivors of the fire shared this message with IT Tender: "I am a graduate of IT Tender's secondary education program (a passer of the high school equivalency exam). On January 17, 2021, our family's home was destroyed by a fire in the community. Thank you to IT Tender and the supporters who provided assistance, materials to build our home, and formula and diapers for my baby. We're so grateful because of your overwhelming help that saved us. I'm grateful there are people like you who are willing to help. Thank God and the instruments He uses to help us."
Another stay-at-home mother we serve found herself in a desperate situation when her husband left her and their four daughters during the pandemic. They were abandoned without any money to pay rent or to feed the children. The mother tried working various jobs, but lockdown restrictions returned and caused her to stop working. Thank God, a donor stepped up and provided funds for the rent of their house and even the seed money for the mother to establish a small business from her home making and selling popular Filipino snacks.
This grateful mother shared the following message: "I am so thankful to the Lord because He made a way for my family to survive, and He makes me feel that He loves me. Thank you to everyone who helped me and believed that I can do this - that I can stand on my own for my children. God provides and guides us, always."
There are countless other stories of families at IT Tender who have lost jobs and struggled to feed their children over the last year. We thank God for the wisdom and provisions that have allowed us to continued providing relief goods as needed. Many of the parents in our community just want to work and put food on the table, and they aren't looking for a handout. We are grateful to have been able to provide some short-term, part-time contracts for those parents who would like to work at IT Tender (doing administrative or maintenance tasks) for compensation.
We appreciate your continued prayers and support. Know that we also pray for you - for all of our friends and donors across the globe - as together we overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
Thank you for all your compassion, and take good care.
- The Tender Team