ANTIPOLO CITY, May 3, 2014 — A home for the aged in Antipolo that provides abandoned and less fortunate senior citizens with free board and lodging has been in operation for 12 years relying on nothing but the generosity of God.
During recent meeting of Kanlungan ni Maria – Home for the Aged, Inc. (Kanlungan ni Maria) stakeholders, it was reported that the home has been running for more than a decade, funded only by donations from private individuals and organizations.
According to Kanlungan ni Maria priest-in-charge Fr. Dari Dioquino, the home, which began operation in May 1, 2002, did not engage in any fund raising activity yet it did not have any unmet needs.
“God’s infinite provisions for the needs of resident elderly are channeled through charitable individuals and organizations,” he said. “The donations for goods are overflowing.”
Dioquino said the home regularly receives canned milk donations, often more than what residents can consume.
The priest said the home is forced to judiciously give canned milk near its expiry date to poor neighbors to avoid wasting resources.
Rachel Mariano, a social worker in charge of the elderly residents, said Kanlungan ni Maria stands out as a home for the aged, and it is a major reason why sponsors continue supporting it.
Some residents in other shelters for old people begged her to transfer them to Kanlungan ni Maria, she said.
Asked why Kanlungan ni Maria earned such an outstanding reputation, both the resident elderly and the staff said it is because of the character and integrity of Fr. Dioquino, whose name has become synonymous with the home.
Kanlungan ni Maria staff shared that Fr. Dioquino, who lives together with the resident elderly, sleeps in a Spartan bed in the same space donated goods are stored.
Facilitated by Horacio Torres, a Kanlungan ni Maria volunteer who works in Canada, and Oscar V. Banias, a retired training specialist, the stakeholders’ meeting, which was held at the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres Vigil House in Taytay, Rizal, singled out “donor-fatigue” as a possible threat to the house’s bid for existence.
To hold on to the good reputation of Kanlungan ni Maria, Torres and Banias recommended keeping the donors well-informed about how funds and goods are used.
Currently, Kanlungan ni Maria is home to 22 senior citizens; 5 men and 17 women. (Oliver Samson)