“Anumang magaling kahit maliit basta’t malimit ay patungong langit” was a point emphatically articulated by Rev. Fr. Amadeo Alvero in Express It At The Park media forum where he and Rev. Msgr. Jimmy Villanueva, the vicar-general of the Archdiocese of Palo, very recently guested. This pronouncement he made is relative to the Club Cuarenta 340 days-long Alay Kapwa-like fund raising project of the local church, which it copied from the Lenten Club 40 project of the Diocese of Lipa in Batangas. For a minimum of P40 donation, a person could be a member of the Club and automatic volunteer of the Archdiocese of Palo Caritas Inc, soon an affiliate of Caritas International. This initiative labours to build a buffer fund that the Archdiocese could use to provide relief to needy faithful in times of distress, such as calamity, manmade or natural. Even though no one is precluded from shelling out a one-time donation at the minimum amount of P40 to immediately become an APCI volunteer through Club Cuarenta, this nevertheless beats the very objective of the sacrifice that the project engenders. In Club 40, donors (volunteers as categorically identified) are motivated to give P1 a day for forty days (supposedly the days of Lent as in the case of Club 40 in Batangas) after which they straight away are issued Club IDs as proof of their membership to Club 40 and volunteer of APCI. Fr. Alvero stressed on the need for one would-be member to do much sacrifices to feel the essence of Club Cuarenta. For him, it is in the constancy of giving that one could gain the spiritual benefit of the donation being made day after day. The sacrifice, he said, is not only on the part of would-be member but the church workers and clergy as well. Imagine the effort of a prospective member in going to the parish convent office frequently to give the donation to the minimum required amount of P40 and the coupled duty of the parish workers to receive this donation and note these measly contribution every time the donors come for this purpose. He noted though that if the donor would like to give a thousand bucks would relentlessly give such big amount every time he would come to the parish for this purpose that could still be considered a sacrifice. Launched on Palm Sunday (April 13) this year, Club Cuarenta endeavours to raise at least about P20 million, computed at a minimum of P40 for at least 500 Catholics within the Archdiocese of Palo. Departing from the original Lent-long duration of Club 40 in the Diocese of Lipa, APCI’s Club 40 is almost a year-long in order to give the 1.2 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Palo the opportunity to take part in this noble undertaking. As Msgr. Villanueva remarked, longer time is necessitated for massive dissemination of the project, especially in schools within the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese. APCI’s Club 40 will be judged at the end of the project’s first-year term and could be renewed depending on the result of the evaluation. Nonetheless, the result will be used as gauge on what percent of the total number of Catholics in the Archdiocese are active and supportive to the Church’s call and the amount raised in its first year of campaign. It could also provide the statistics on how many non-Catholics who are willing to assist in the fund campaign of the local church. Club 40 of APCI is packaged not solely as fund-raising drive such as the Pondong Pinoy where the people are encouraged to donate at least 25 cents (called “crumbs”) for this purpose. Club 40 comes with a package of benefits to the APCI volunteers. Members will be remembered on their birthdays and special occasions wherein prayers for their intentions will be said by the church. A longer term proposal is to provide help to the members, one of which is hospitalization. Msgr. Villanueva said that this non-exclusive Club is also open to non-Catholics and those living abroad provided however that they are being made fully aware of the objectives of Club Cuarenta. He assured the campaign’s transparency in that every single cent that gets into the APCI fund will be fully and truthfully accounted. Meantime, he disclosed that the Archdiocese of Palo will be enjoying the proceeds of Pondong Pinoy probably after Easter this year. The amount that the Archdiocese shall receive will be used to feed the hundreds to a thousand malnourished children in the Archdiocese, regardless of their religious affiliation. He said, the local gets a bigger slice of the Pondong Pinoy pie especially that the majority of the parishes within the archdiocese are hardly hit by supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last year. The taste of the pudding is in the eating, the adage goes. When Pondong Pinoy was introduced in the archdiocese several years back, no one was so sure of its success. Thus no one, too, could tell how successful Club Cuarenta will be until it is evaluated. This feat will only be achieved with the support, cooperation and sacrifices of the Catholic faithful in the Archdiocese and other patrons who wish to be volunteers of APCI.