The students of St Alphonsus School, Bengaluru, the modest educational institution run by the Society of Sadasahaya Sangham in Richards Town, were in for a surprise even as Covid-19, the global pandemic, was in full swing. The school management at the initiative of its manager and correspondent Rev Dr John Mathew began a series of charity drive for the families of their students most of whom come under the low income group.
With Covid-19 and the lockdown confining daily-wage earners indoors without any income, Dr John Mathew together with his governing body comprising of select members from the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer realised that “hunger will kill the families of their students even before Covid-19 would.” Thus, they rose to the occasion and from the funds of the school trust they first distributed two kilograms of rice and a kilogram of dal each to all the parents of their 400-plus students. Following up with this initial drive, the school has also given a “10 item pack” termed as “the survival pack” consisting of 10 daily important groceries to keep the families surviving until the extension of the lockdown that ends on May 3.
Lakshmi Mary, a widow whose son is a Class 10 student at St Alphonsus School, testifies joyfully, “I was out of any provisions when the school distributed essential items to the families of their students. This help was very timely and brought much relief."
The school has also waived the huge arrears of unpaid amount on the fees for this academic year and has decided to reduce the annual school fees structure for the next academic year by a whopping 50%. With the collaboration of Dream India, an NGO run in the city, the school has also been distributing about 1000 hot lunch packets to many slum dwellers surrounding the Cantonment Area of the city, including Bagalur Layout, DJ Halli, Pottery Road and Tannery Road.
Together with the services of the Sisters of St Joseph’s of Tarbes and other volunteers, Dr John Mathew has been instrumental in getting the school management involved in these relief measures. The timely help has brightened up the lives of the beneficiaries besides bringing joy to all those involved in helping out. As Arun, a businessman who helped buy the provisions and in its packing put it, “It was a deeply satisfying experience to do something during this crisis without the expectation of anything in return.”
In the middle of the pandemic, kindness is indeed bringing smiles to people!
A beneficiary receiving provisions from Rev Dr John Mathew together with the other volunteers who helped in the drive.
Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy