Fr George Kannanthanam
On the 171st foundation day of the Claretian Congregation and the 50th Jubilee of Claretian Presence in India, a new project was launched by Bangalore Province to extent support to the families in distress due to COVID 19 under the banner of ‘Mother’s Meal’.
Launching the Mother’s Meal program digitally from Delhi, Justice Kurian Joseph said “Mother is full of love and that love is expressed through sharing and giving. The minimum expression of love one can show to another human being during this economic crisis due to Covid is to share a meal.”
Fr George Kannanthanam and Fr Mario with the first five recipients of Mother’s Meal program in Bangalore
Fr George Kannanthanam handing over first Mother’s Meal Survival Kit to Jeevan, a differently abled boy
Fr George Kannanthanam and Fr Mario along with the recipients of the Mother’s Meal program lighting the lamp
Mother’s Meal was the name coined by Fr George Kannanthanam who conceived the idea of the project for a Family to Family Food Support Program, in memory of his late mother Brigit Kannanthanam. “A Mother would not allow her children to go hungry. She will do everything possible to provide food. As the World goes hungry, let us assume the role of a Mother and feed our hungry children,’ said Fr George recalling how his Mother helped everyone who came to her.
The concept is to ensure that families have enough food to survive by inspiring resourceful families to share. An affordable family is invited to support another family in distress through a contribution of 500 rupees, which will be used to provide a Survival Kit of provisions.
Mother’s Meal program aims to help about 1000 families in the first phase, 5000 people. Interested persons from anywhere can provide support for a family using the website www.mothersmeal.life where anyone can place the details of the families in need as well. Mother’s Meal program will find the match and ensure that the family gets the support. The project has planned to work with local groups like parishes and Vincent De Paul society to identify the families in need and also to physically provide them the needed help. The program can be operationalised anywhere in the world.
Claretian Congregation founded by Saint Antony Mary Claret in 1849 in Spain is committed to work for the people in the peripheries. “COVID is pushing more and more people into the peripheries of the society. We all need to contribute something”, said Alphonse Kannanthanam, Member of Parliament at the inauguration of the program. According to Oxfam and World Food Program, “By the end of 2020, about 12,000 people per day could die from hunger linked to COVID-19, potentially more than will die from the disease itself.”
Claretians who started in India in 1970 are engaged in various works for the upliftment of the marginalised sections of the society spread across 18 states of India through its five provinces having nearly 600 members. Rev. Fr Mathew Vattamattam, the first India Superior General of the Claretians from India invited “all the members to assume responsibility for our mission and contribute generously to enrich the people of God” on the occasion of the Jubilee. Claretians have been involved with working for disasters and people affected with leprosy, HIV and disabilities in various parts of India.
Fr George handed over the first Survival Kits under the Mother’s Meal program to five families with special needs in a simple function at Project Vision Rural Campus near Gauribidanur in the outskirts of Bangalore, watched by people from various places online. Eight year old Jeevan is orthopedically disabled. Rajani Kanth lost one of his legs and is twenty years old. Jayalakshmi who is 11 still has not been able to hear and speak. Yamuna too is physically challenged. Gangamma is unable to see. Mother’s Meal plans to support such special groups in the society like people with disabilities, widows and migrants, who may be also out of the Public Distribution System. No one should go without food in the world.
Fr Mario Zalki and Mr Sibu George coordinated the program.
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