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ARS in the time of COVID-19: The Augustinian Response

The dreadful COVID-19 has caused the disruption of so many fabrics of human existence and that of the society. The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) sets the tone of change the way things are normally done in order to flatten the curve of transmission of the virus. The Augustinians in Cebu through SNAF’s Augustinian Relief Service (ARS) and the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino de Cebu respond to the call of the time by being in solidarity with those who cannot fend for themselves. Assistance in the temporary shelter for the homeless and the production of Personal Protective Equipments are among the concrete expressions of solidarity along side with the provision of rice for the vendors and the urban poor.
Temporary Shelter for the Homeless (TSH)
ARS takes special attention and care for the homeless since they are also greatly affected by the ECQ. While they do not have roof to cover their heads, they also have no enough resources to cover for their daily basic needs. Forming part of this most vulnerable sector are children, women, persons with special needs and the elderly. There are two dedicated TSHs: Brgy. San Roque Gym and Colegio del Santo Nino Activity Center.
There are around 100 individuals being housed in Brgy. San Roque Gym and another 14 individuals housed in Colegio del Santo Nino. The majority of the beneficiaries are the regular street-dwellers on within the baranggays adjacent to the vicinity of Basilica Minore del Santo Nino de Cebu. ARS staff and volunteers are working closely with Brgy. San Roque through the Sanggunian Kabataan officers and volunteers.
The food provision is taken from the budget allocation provided by the Basilica, partners and donors such as the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc (RAFI). Daily meals—breakfast, lunch, dinner— are provided to these TSHs. With the aim to enhance their immune system, healthy food is preferred to prepare. Partnership with local vegetable provider is thus put into place.
Fr. Vic Amplayo cooking for the frontliners and volunteers.

Fr. Vic Amplayo cooking for the frontliners and volunteers.

Fr. Cabugao taking his turn cooking for the frontliners and volunteers as well who are working.

Fr. Cabugao taking his turn cooking for the frontliners and volunteers as well who are working.

Production of PPEs
ARS is also taking the effort in making PPEs to be freely given to the frontliners. Rotary Club District 3860 is among the partners of SNAF in this undertaking. As the number of cases has plummeted, so the need for more PPEs is even becoming more urgent. To be prioritized as the recipients of the said materials are those working in the designated Sub-National Laboratory (SNL) in Cebu City. Other hospitals outside Cebu City can also be recipients.
SNAF has mobilized its volunteers under the Augustinian Volunteer Program dubbed as OSACARES (Order of Saint Augustine-Community Action towards Resilience, Empowerment and Service). Coming from different professional fields and walks of life, the volunteers have committed to render their time, efforts and other means of resources. Rotarians are also taking turns in manning the busy work place and base of ARS—the Santo Nino Pilgrim Center.
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