|Mercy joins Living Water in fight against poverty |
By Denise Balgobin Thursday, June 28 2007
A new initiative geared at alleviating the plight of the poor, homeless and disabled in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the Caribbean region was recently launched at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Invader’s Bay, PoS.
The organisation is called The Mercy Foundation and is the brainchild of Nigel Salina, whose company Nigel G Salina and Associates has been spearheading the effort, in association with the Living Water Community (LWC).
At the launch, Salina said, “The Mercy Foundation is dedicated to the awareness of the plight of the underprivileged in the Caribbean by providing opportunities in education, training, health care and upliftment of the human spirit.”
In keeping with the principles of the LWC and the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, it is the aim of the foundation to make remarkable strides to eradicate poverty. Salina said he has high goals and called on invited guests to give generously to the effort.
“We have a lot of work to do and there are many out there who need help urgently. I feel this is my calling from God and I am asking for your assistance. I would like to start the donations by pledging $100,000 from Nigel G Salina and Associates,” he announced.
Speaking to Newsday afterwards, he said his greatest inspiration and support have come from his parents and his family.
“I am confident, too, that those who donate know that their funds will be distributed appropriately to reach the needy, especially because of our affiliation with the LWC.”
The idea for Mercy was formed about five years ago when Nigel, who had been involved in LWC’s work for about seven years, decided he wanted to formally support the LWC’s charitable work in the wider region.
Rhonda Maingot, co-founder of the LWC along with Rose Jackman, stated during an interview with Newsday that her organisation “seeks to solidify the commitment of corporation and benefactors. When Nigel came to me with his idea, I never doubted him for one second and I am very proud of this young man, as I have seen him grow up, get married and become a father.”
Living Water is a Catholic charismatic lay community located at 109 Frederick Street, Port-of- Spain, founded by Maingot and Jackman in 1975 in response to a call from God to “light a fire of love” in the hearts of God’s people.
At the heart of the community, there are three households whose members include lay men and women, and priests who live a life under vows of “loving celibacy, simple poverty and obedience to the church, and the spirit of the community” and who are in full-time service in the community. There are also about 20 other persons living consecrated lives but in their own homes.
In 1980, 150 persons made “covenant” with the community and today there are 600 “covenanted” members, with established missions also in Saba and St Eustacius in the Netherland Antilles, Barbados and Union Island in the Grenadines.
The hub of the community is the “centre” which was established since 1981.
“We took a giant step in faith then and bought a building with no money – then renovated it to accommodate our needs,” Maingot stated.
“In the interim, our needs have grown and so has the structure of the building, expanding to include the property next door with another floor added. “Each day, large numbers of people stream through our doors since the administrative functions of the community are also conducted from this location, along with pastoral ministries such as counselling and spiritual direction, seminars and retreats, prayer meetings for youth, children and adults.”
At the headquarters, there is also a television and video production studio (TCN), as well as a Food Bank (ministering to the poor) and a bookstore, coffee shop and catering service. On the ground floor are a small chapel for quiet prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a large hall where the community meets and where Mass is celebrated each day.
The community extends to San Fernando where the southern branch, known as Nazareth House, has about 80 members. Nazareth House keeps the “living water” flowing with its ministry to the poor, prayer meetings, retreats, prayer and counselling and its own “patio café”.
Maingot revealed that all of this is made possible “through the generosity of those who support us by Deeds of Covenant, donations, charitable foundations, legacies, fundraising and, of course, our many satisfied customers who visit our bookstore and coffee shop.”
Nigel added that with LWC’s help, “The Mercy Foundation hopes to raise as much funds as possible to reach out to as many persons in need and to touch as many lives as possible. We would like the business community to support us in this venture so we who have the means, can reach out and touch as many lives as possible.”