Shoppers helping less fortunate in Asia

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Customers at a charity shop in Coleraine have been helping people in tented villages in the Philippines, and those in need in India.

This week, Reaching & Teaching Ministries are celebrating a successful first year of trading at their charity shop in the Coleraine’s Diamond area.

Jointly managed by Sonia McHugh and Gemma Bell, this eclectic emporium also has a team of three volunteers to give you service with a smile in support of a great cause.

Reaching and Teaching Ministries is particularly active in the Philippines, India and to a lesser extent, Northern Ireland.

“At the moment, we are shipping quite a lot of aid to Filipino tent villages ­ these are areas that were decimated by an earthquake there in October 2013”, says Kenneth Wilson, who is the founder and Director of the charity.

“To date, we have sent out 17 balikbayan boxes ­ which hold up to 250 items depending on their size ­ and cost between £5,5­65 to transport from Northern Ireland to the Philippines.”

Kenneth went on to say: “Two cubic metre boxes of aid have also been shipped out in partnership with our friends at Mercy In Action Ministries. Our generous supporters have also provided money to buy food in the form of rice and medicines, which is then purchased in the Philippines.”

The task of overseeing this vital work falls to Philip and Tracey Johnston, who are the charity’s full­time missionaries in the central Asian republic.

From their base on the island of Bohol, the couple travel regularly to ‘tent’ and ‘squatter’ villages,meeting people, assessing need and providing practical help where possible.

It was during one such expedition that the couple met Riza­Mae and her family.

Riza is three years old but has never been able to walk or physically grow on account of malnutrition.

However, thanks to food, medicine and other aid, this young girl is beginning to thrive and her family are also being helped.

How can you get involved?

More donations are much needed, volunteers for the shop are also required.

The same is true of volunteers

It is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm. To find out how you can help, call in at 11 The Diamond, Coleraine. Alternatively, telephone Sonia or Jemma on 02870 442321.

Kenneth is available to share about the work in Schools, Home Groups, Prayer Groups, Churches. He is willing to share with any group who invite him. You can contact him via mobile 07774617487