Christmas: Bags of rice, garri for 500 widows, 200 aged

Christmas: Bags of rice, garri for 500 widows, 200 aged

Friday, December 25, 2015 12:39 pm

Widows and the aged carrying their rice

Widows and the aged carrying their rice

Kazeem Ugbodaga
For Mrs. Anthonia Anoibo, ever since she lost her husband many years ago, things have not been rosy. Making a living to feed her children has been so difficult. At the end of each year, she looked forward to when ‘miraculous’ rice will come to celebrate Christmas and New Year.

As fate would have it, she heard of Hydra Edge Foundation, HEF, distributing free rice and garri to widows and the aged in Agege community, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria. Now, she is beaming with smiles. She can now celebrate Christmas and New Year with her children. This is because she was among the 500 widows who received quarter bag of rice and garri each from the foundation to celebrate the Yuletide.

She said the gesture would forever be remembered in her life, even as she prayed for the organisation to continue to wax stronger in its stride to make life more abundant for the downtrodden.

HEF, a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, has over the years been engaged in humanitarian gesture to the poor and the downtrodden in Agege area of Lagos. For the past eight years, the foundation has been putting smiles on the faces of widows at the end of each year. It also engages in youth and women empowerment by giving out little tokens to beneficiaries to start up small scale business enterprise.

In this year’s gesture, 200 aged men were added to the list of those to receive bags of rice and garri to alleviate their plights. The event was held at Oyewole Junior Grammar School, Orile Agege where about a thousand people gathered to witness the presentation of the gesture.

Mrs. Olajumoke Opeifa, founder of HEF, at the event called on governments and philanthropic organisations to make life more meaningful to the orphaned, widows and aged members of the society. She said this class of people, who formed a sizeable proportion of the population of the society, must be adequately taken care of to reduce the widening gap of poverty in the society.
“Nothing will make any meaning to a hungry person, the major challenge to governance lies in reducing the poverty index. Nothing gives me more joy than giving to the poor and making life more meaningful to the less privileged members of the society,’ she said.

 Mrs Opeifa (right) with beneficiaries of the rice distribution

Mrs Opeifa (right) with beneficiaries of the rice distribution

According to her, the yearly presentation of food items, which is the eighth in the series, is her Foundation’s response to making life more bearable to the vulnerable groups of the society, who have no means of celebrating the festive period with members of their families.

Opeifa stated that the exercise, which began eight years ago was in response to giving back to the society a little from what God had bestowed on her, adding that nothing was too much to give to humanity in appreciation of God’s mercy and goodness on her entire family.
“Every year, since the last eight years, we have been giving the less privileged, especially the widows and the orphans food items, especially during Christmas and this year, we decided to expand the programme a little by adding the aged. This year, 700 people, made up of 500 widows and 200 aged, would go home with one bag of rice and one bag of garri, to enable them celebrate the yuletide with members of their families,” she explained.

Executive Secretary, Orile Agege Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Adeyinka Akeem described the gesture as one with a profound impact in the council, charging other well meaning members of the society to emulate such humanitarian gesture by looking at the area of needs in any given society and fill the vacuum, adding that it is only when philanthropists teamed up with the government that the task of improving the lot of the common man, especially the indigent could be achieved.

“This Foundation is the biggest humanitarian group in this local government and I must say that every year, the indigent in this area look forward to this event, knowing that they would not only get foodstuffs, but also cash gifts to augment whatever their incomes to make the yuletide a memorable one for their families,” he said.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman for the LCDA, Prince Sunday Ajayi said: “This programme has continued to witness tremendous crowd since it started eight years ago. Last year the crowd was tremendous, and this year, it seems to have doubled. The Foundation has continued to put smiles in the face of the common people in this council area, we can only continue to pray for the group that God would continue to strengthen them.”

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