After one of our hardest and toughest days in the field, visiting with children whom pick out of the dirty and dangerous garbage all day just to be able to sell what they find and eat enough for that one day, our team couldn’t believe what our partners had to tell them, “tomorrow will make today look like the good life”.
The sad truth of their words is shocking and cruel, the conditions that many children around the world live in are heart breaking and sickening, which is why Children’s Hunger Relief Fund exists, established 38 years ago to find, help and bring hope to innocent children wherever they are.
Brant Doner, Assistant Vice President of CHRF, shared with us the rest of his grimacing report: “As we drove into the city our team took us to a community of over one-hundred families that lives underneath a bridge. Our Partners tell us that underneath almost every bridge in the Philippines these communities exist. The children run around on the top of the bridge where cars drive by on the street. Most of them don’t have shirts; they can barely afford a meal, no less clothing. They beg the passers by and the cars for anything. A penny, a nickel.
We talk with the children, they are in program where our partners come to visit with them and bring them food and medical attention whenever they can. They tell me that most nights the children elect to sleep on the streets rather than under the bridge because their living conditions are so terrible.
I walk down the path to the bottom of the bridge where they live. It is a dry day without rain so most of the families are outside. The parents are out scavenging through the nearby trash dumps while the children beg or just lay on the ground, they don’t have enough energy to even move.
They invite me under the bridge where they live. It is a long dark tunnel, on either side little rooms have been created out of trash. Cardboard, plastic, dirty blankets all serve as walls for these rooms. As I walk further and further into the community the air gets thicker and thicker, I swear that this air has sucked the hope and life out of everyone around. As I take each step I feel life slipping, I’ve never put much thought into what hell might be like. I suddenly realize that in my darkest nightmares I could never have imagined people, children living like this. Just imagine, these people would probably give just about anything to live in an American Prison, no less the food and showers that prisoners are guaranteed.
As we walk further into the community it gets hotter and hotter, it’s already over one hundred degrees outside. The younger children have peed in their beds and the smell of the place is beyond comprehension. The hope of these people is long gone, they don’t strive to save up money for anything, they don’t plan to someday buy a house, or buy a car, or go on a trip, they save up enough money, ten, twenty, thirty cents until they can buy a small meal for their families. This is Hell. Children Hopeless. This exists underneath every bridge in Manila? I want to turn to run away, but my feet and body are in too much shock, we are here to help, and that is what we will do.
Because of the compassion and giving of our donors we can provide these families with bags of food that will last a family of four for three days. We are now helping to provide them with meals for just 10 cents! One dollar helps us buy ten meals for these children. Ten dollars buys a hundred meals, a hundred dollars buys a thousand meals!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for any help and prayer that you have shared with CHRF and with these people. This is what life is about, finding the poorest and most vulnerable of God’s children and helping them any way we can, thank you for enabling our team to carry out our mission.”
For more information or to find out how you can join us to help please go to: https://donate.chrf.org/childrens_hunger_relief_fund.html
“Out here you don’t have to wear a cape or go by a special name to be a hero. These children are so overjoyed when they see food, most of them are lucky to get just one meal a day. And just one dollar can help to buy ten meals. A hero ten times over. Thank you to our donors for being a hero to these children, thank you for helping us provide these miracles of life and hope for these children. You are my hero too.” -Brant Doner, CHRF Team.
This post is Part II of CHRF’s international team’s trip to the Philippines. For part one please visit https://chrfund.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/bringing-your-compassion-to-children-in-the-philippines/.