The Philippines’ oldest charitable institution appealed for help this week as some of its staff members and some elderly residents have been infected with COVID-19.
The Hospicio de San José, a Catholic welfare institution run by Daughters of Charity nuns, has been under lockdown in recent days after recording several COVID-19 positive cases.
As of Thursday, April 29, there were already 23 people — 15 staff members, six elderly residents, and two student volunteers — who tested positive of the disease.
The institution currently serves 48 individuals with special needs, 87 children, 65 elderlies, 29 abused children, 150 homeless individuals, and two persons in crisis situations.
The Hospicio, which is located on Isla de Convalecencia in the middle of Pasig River in Manila, has been under lockdown since March 15.
Church-run Radio Veritas 846 reported that the institution is “running out of food because nobody is donating to them and the sisters are worried about the children and the elderly.”
Donations, however, came pouring on Friday, April 30. Caritas Manila already sent five sacks of rice.
“We give them whatever supply they need from us, and we always deliver,” Jazzner De Dios, program officer of Caritas Manila, told LiCAS.news.
De Dios, however, said the social action arm of the Archdiocese of Manila has to also respond to calls for help from other areas.
Ana Patricia Non, the young artist who started a “community pantry” in the national capital, said her group already set aside goods to be sent to Hospicio de San Jose.
In a statement, the Daughters of Charity expressed gratitude to those who have sent help.
“We are grateful to those who have responded immediately to the call for support initiated by concerned friends of Hospicio,” said Sister Maria Ana Rosario Evidente, D.C.
Initially named the Hospicio General, Hospicio de San José was established in October 1778 by Don Francisco Gómez Enríquez and his wife Doña Barbara Verzosa.
After being cured of a fever, Don Gómez Enríquez donated the sum of 4,000 pesos to found the hospice that would take care of Manila’s “poor and unwanted children,” the physically and mentally handicapped, and aging people.
The initiative and example of Don Gómez Enríquez was followed by other charitable people of Manila.
From Dec. 27, 1810, and by Royal Decree, the hospice was governed by a Board of Directors chaired by the Archbishop of Manila.
On June 1, 1866, through the suggestion to the Governor-General of the Philippines by a benefactor named Doña Margarita Róxas, the operation of the hospice became the responsibility of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.