AFCM – Filipino Mission raises $230K for Yolanda survivors
TORONTO-Ever since Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA) Church was named as the home of the Archdiocesan Filipino Catholic Mission (AFCM) under the leadership of Reverend Father Ben Ebcas, OLA became the center of Filipino activities in the Greater Toronto Area. OLA became the Oasis for Filipino Caregivers and Filipino Faithful hoping for spiritual enrichment and to meet their Kababayans.
Nowhere in the Greater Toronto area has the Filipino Community congregated en masse on a regular basis than OLA, not only because it is a church but it is also a hotbed of different community activities like the Pistahan sa OLA and Santa Cruzan. No wonder fittingly or by default during time of crisis, people look up to AFCM for leadership, first and foremost because of the credibility and spirituality the organization has established and secondly, because of the number of volunteers.
When Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda struck the central part of the Philippines last November, a lot of people automatically requested AFCM through Fr. Ben for support and guidance on what to do. AFCM immediately came in to action, planning and execution for fund raising and relief came almost instantaneously.
Temporalities Ministry led by Rosemer Enverga, Zeny Uy of Worship Ministry and Joey Abrenilla of Youth Ministry immediately appealed to various communities, businesses and media outlets. Volunteers were called upon and donations poured in from all walks of life. Many religious groups and all cultures just walked in the OLA halls to bring their valuable donations. Fr. Ben notwithstanding the fact that his family was also affected by the Typhoon, led the Typhoon Haiyan relief operation with overwhelming results. Noticing the major effort, Cardinal Thomas Collins and Prime Minister Stephen Harper themselves travelled to OLA and lauded Fr. Ben for his leadership, the AFCM ministries and volunteers for their unselfish and passionate efforts.
The efforts of the Filipino Mission with the support of other organizations like the Knights of Columbus, PCCF, Block Rosary Crusade and other organizations resulted in the collection, sorting and shipping of 948 boxes that were sent through the generous door-to-door companies to the Philippines via the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Solicitation of over $230,000 that was sent through Sharelife, matched dollar for dollar by the Government of Canada. In two weeks time, the total donation to the affected areas reached over 16 million pesos. A great work indeed by everyone who donated and volunteered to make a difference for the community.