They say charity begins at home and this is completely true. Everyone is urged to do their bit in society but not all do. This is not true of Donald Fernandes and all the good work he has been doing since 2013. From cooking for the poor, ferrying them to the hospital when needed with the ambulance he bought to putting a tap in his own compound and offering those in need to take how much they wanted, he has done much to ease the situation of the poor in the Sangolda/Saligao area. Finally, in 2017, he started a food bank to complement the work he was already doing. And thus, Street Providence, the NGO run by him and his wife, along with volunteers, was born.
One year celebration for the food bank that has done much for the poor
The 28th of May was a happy day for Donald and all at Street Providence. On that day, a year ago, the food bank was blessed, inaugurated and started its work in earnest. Worry over the weather conditions led Donald and group to celebrate almost 10 days prior to the actual anniversary date.
Donald says, “It’s been an awesome and inspiring journey for me and most of the volunteers. In fact, the project was written off as a failure just 1 day before we even started.” He adds, “God’s favor and his hand has turned things into reality.”
And what God promised, he delivered for Street Providence and the food bank. Donald and the rest of the volunteers may have started small but now they are doing so many great things. It’s no longer just a food bank project. Now they have:
1. 28 fridges installed in various parts of Goa to accept food.
2. 3 rehab homes for homeless men
3. Water bank
4. Medicine bank
5. Clothes bank
6. Program for kids that have tested positive for HIV
7. A scheme bank that aids the unfortunate in work their way through the legal jargon to avail of various government schemes.
8. A deliverance team for those in infliction
9. An alcohol rehab center for alcoholics
June also looks to be a busy month for the volunteers. Donald has more projects coming up which include a home for destitute and/or homeless women, a home for men that have tested positive for HIV and a 4th rehab home for homeless men.
A long and busy road ahead
Donald still doesn’t intend to stop with just this. He has plans to continue and give back as much as he can to the poor and aid them in getting back into society.
To know how and why he started the food bank, watch the video below.
He goes on to say, “We are still looking forward to installing 22 more fridges and reaching that figure of 50 fridges across Goa to collect food. This will enable us to feed 10000 meals daily across Goa. Please drop food in the mentioned list of fridges in food grade plastic bags.” All the aid that they give is for free.
And of course, he would like to thank a whole bunch of people for volunteering their time and efforts to see the whole food bank project, as well as helping Street Providence reach the heights it is striving for. “We thank all our benefactors and volunteers who supported us in the last 1 year. I thank the organizers of TEDx Panaji for giving me an opportunity to speak at the event in April 2018. It opened up a lot of new avenues.”
Donald is also grateful to the support he has received from the Archbishop and the Church as well the from the Goa Police.
He adds, “If one looks at our projects it’s never ever done by anyone before, all under one roof. That gives one immense satisfaction.”
Proud moments for Donald Fernandes
When Donald speaks of Street Providence, it is with pride. His most proud achievement is the rehabilitation centers for the homeless men. Between Donald and another trustee, they have managed to motivate so many of them into getting off the streets and doing something with their lives.
All this excellent and hard work has been done only using social media like Facebook and Whatsapp as avenues to get in volunteers, funds and raise awareness too. So much so that they have requested that people do not call. Instead, Whatsapp messages on +91 8380097564 are more than welcome. Donald himself responds to these.
Additionally, if one wants to donate money, they can do so by cheque or NEFT transfer. The NGO prefers not to accept cash donations. For more information on this and everything else, one can contact them via their Facebook page as well. The food bank has a Facebook page too.