Friday, August 22, 2008

Hapag-asa Caravan

The new face of Hapag-asa is the face of Empoy, a young boy with polio who did not smile or laugh. But his Hapag-asa meals enriched with vitameal have turned him into the smiling, animated boy in the picture who was the highlight of his mother’s testimonial sharing during the Hapag-asa Caravan program held on February 10, 2007.

The day began with Diocesan groups from the north and south converging at Guadalupe Bridge. Leading the caravan were the mother and child higantes of Antipolo with banners proclaiming “Maternal health” and “Reduce child mortality.” At the San Carlos Seminary gym, the group celebrated the volunteerism and dedication that is the hallmark of the Hapag-Asa feeding program with a Eucharistic Celebration with main presiders Bishop Pedro D. Arigo, D.D. of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa and Bishop Leo M. Drona, D.D. of the Diocese of San Pablo and Fr. Anton C. T. Pascual of Caritas Manila and concelebrated by priest representatives from the PnP dioceses.

A parade of diocesan flags signaled the beginning of a joyous program of dances, skits and testimonials from each participating diocese. But before this, Ms. Bell Lafuente of Assisi Foundation gave an update on the accomplishments of the Hapag-asa program. To date, Hapag-asa has fed over 75,000 children with the help of 37 dioceses and various local government units, schools, NGOs and religious organizations. She reminded the participants that much still needs to be done with a target of 120,000 children for the year. The program was animated by the emceeing of Fr. Anton and Mrs. Susan de la Cruz of the Diocese of Kalookan. The dance numbers of the childrenof the Dioceses of Cubao, ParaƱaque, Novaliches and Antipolo showed the difference improved nutrition makes through their energetic movements and bright expressions. Mothers and grandmothers alike showed the lively voluntary spirit with their enthusiastic dancing and touching stories of health restored, faith strengthened and lives transformed by the Hapag-asa program. Pop singers from GMA’s Pinoy Pop Superstars were on hand to enliven the show with their stirring ballads. Video presentations from the other dioceses gave the experience of being on-site with their pictures of their feeding program and varied celebrations. The smile of Empoy said it for all - Hapag-asa’s feeding program is well worth the effort because a child’s life is too precious to waste.

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