By Ivee Johnson
LEADING preneed providers and sister companies in the ALC Group, Eternal Gardens and Eternal Plans Inc., conducted an outreach program on September 27 at the Anawim Lay Missions Foundation Inc., a small facility for poor and abandoned elderly people in Barangay San Isidro, Sitio Tañag, Rodriguez, Rizal.
Anawim is a Hebrew word meaning “God’s poor.” The home was founded by Catholic lay preacher Bro. Bo Sanchez in 1996. Today it has 56 residents—23 males and 33 females—under its care.
With the theme “Contributing to the sustainability of our communities, the ALC way,” the outreach program sought to take part in Anawim’s mission “to build Catholic lay communities that provide Christian homes, evangelization and service to the poor and abandoned in society,” and help them attain their vision “to have 10 Anawim branches in different parts of the country, serving the poorest of the poor: The abandoned elderly, orphans, street children, handicapped, drug dependents, unwed mothers, prostitutes, by the year 2020.”
The two companies’ 25 volunteer employees and officers left early that Sunday morning to bring basic needs, like toiletries, dusters for the lolas and pajamas for the lolos, towels, grocery items and food, and provide afternoon entertainment for the elderly residents of Anawim.
Upon arrival at the venue at around 1 p.m., the volunteers, headed by Eternal Plans President and COO Elmer M. Lorica and Eternal Gardens Vice President for Human Resources and Management Division Victoria C. Nava, were welcomed by the staff of Anawim, headed by Arcie Binohhi, a social worker. Some of their intended beneficiaries were also waiting for them when they arrived and they all seemed very excited to spend the afternoon with their visitors from Manila.
As the volunteers unloaded their donations and got ready for the program, the lolos and lolas started to gather at the multipurpose hall. Nava rendered a special song for the elderly while they were waiting for the program to start.
The program officially started at around 2 p.m. with an opening prayer led by Rolando Bongalon, senior assistant vice president for Marketing of Eternal Plans. This was followed by a brief opening message from Nava, who expressed the group’s joy for the opportunity to spend the afternoon with the residents of Anawim.
“We are very happy to be here with you today. We brought some gifts for all of you and we hope that you will enjoy the short program that we have prepared,” she said.
The residents of the home did seem to enjoy the program, hosted by Guyrich Espeña and Jhe Barrantes of Eternal Gardens and Eternal Plans, respectively. They had the most fun during the games, which included the “bring me” game, a hula-hoop game and stop dance. One of the employees of Eternal Gardens, Arvin Guevarra, also rendered a special song dedicated to the elderly of Anawim. One lola even joined him in a duet to the delight of the crowd.
After the fun program, the elderly residents shared a meal of pancit, spaghetti and sandwiches brought by the volunteers. They were also given souvenirs by the volunteers after their merienda and gamely joined in the photo ops before going back to their respective quarters.
Organized by the Events Committee of Eternal Gardens, headed by MIS Manager Geoffrey Coberos, the outreach program at Anawim is only one of the many charity events sponsored by member companies of the ALC Group.
“This is our way of spreading the generosity of our founder, Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, to our less fortunate brothers and sisters,” Coberos said.