One Egg

by Cynthia Calhoun

One of the most compassionate, life-giving, charitable activities of this church happens quietly every day of the year in a far away hospital, in a far away island in the Philippines.

You may be familiar with some of the popular fundraising activities of this group. Perhaps you donated fabric for the sewing project or items for the building work. However, one of the most successful activities of the task force involves roughly 60 patients, many of them long-term psychiatric patients at Talay Psychiatric Hospital and many of them were in jeopardy of physically wasting away on the meager meals the government hospital provided. Every single day of the year, this church has a program in place that saves them from quietly starving.

In 2005, as part of the Spcial Needs visits to local hospitals with Habitat for Humanity, members of the Philippines Task Force were taken to Talay Hsopital to see the site. The conditions were deplorable with open air, locked cells with concrete slabs for beds and moldy water bottles. When we returned in 2008, many of the same patients were still there, obviously thinner. We found that these 60 or so patients were fed on $5 a day that th egovernment provided. It was clearly not enough. We had to help somehow.

A plan was brought forward by our liaison, Lele Martinez, and the taks force responded that year by offering $12 a day to feed patients a well-rounded meal, including an emphasis on protein with the meal. Sandy Fogerty, Lois Nissly, and Cynthia Calhoun called it the One Egg Feeding Program. In a perfect marriage of energy and enthusiasm, women from the Habitat neighborhhods in the villages where we helped build homes, stepped up to volunteer to cook meals for the inpatients. This service feeds patients, their caretakers, the cook's family, and probably some bystanders once a day, every day.

In 2011, Mr. Ward Bouwsma joined the travel group visiting Dumaguete and expressed interest in seeing this program continue long term. Ward made good on this wish at his passing, he willed funds to feed these individuals into perpetuity. When you say a prayer before your meal, include Ward Bouwsma and the cooks and patients at Talay.