The ECP’s Great Banquet Fund is supporting home-based income-generating projects of individuals whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the current covid-19 pandemic. In Guina-ang, Bontoc, Vivian Orayen and Erminda Sukaren regularized their pork marketing and longganisa processing while Eliza Chokowen increased her bakery’s production. Victoria Tumalom purchased a (second-hand) sewing machine while Alma Baylon started a chilli paste production. Both are from Miramonte, Caloocan City. In Batan, Aklan, Amando Pagayugan and Cris Mayor purchased tricycad or manually operated tricycles to ferry primarily senior citizens around their respective neighborhoods while Sandra Castejon started a buy-and-sell of frozen foods. In Salangsang, Sultan Kudarat, 10 persons are cultivating the church lot to grow organic vegetables. They are among the individuals who availed of the “Maximizing the Gifts of the Hand” project of the Episcopal CARE Foundation, which encourages households to utilize alternative livelihood skills at this time when people are staying at home so they can earn additional income while on quarantine.
The Great Banquet Fund was established by the ECP as one program where people can live out the parable of the great banquet in Luke 14:7-14, where the Lord Jesus Christ said that “when you give a banquet, don’t invite your relatives or rich neighbors as they will invite you back and you will be repaid. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind and those who cannot repay you and you will be blessed!” People who host celebrations or banquets and cannot fully obey this commandment may give to this Fund which supports those whose livelihoods are devastated by disasters, such as the current covid-19 crisis. Consistent with the E-CARE Foundation’s policy that it does not simply give charity but creates opportunities for affected communities and households to rise up from devastation, the Banquet Fund household or individual partners will grant back what they received when they are able so that the said funds will also be passed on to others who are in the same or worse situation and thus enhance the spiral of sharing from one community or household to another under what is known in the ECP as Receivers-to-Givers (R2G) Practice.