Officers of the Philippine-American Outreach Program, Inc. (PAOPI) with Fr. Florentino “Fr. Boyet” Concepcion (back) at PAOPI’s annual ball for San Martin De Porres Community at the elegant Old Bermuda Inn, Staten Island, N.Y. on Sept. 20.

STATEN ISLAND — The Philippine-American Outreach Program, Inc. (PAOPI), led by its president Frederick James Brightwell, hosted its annual dinner-dance to benefit the Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin De Porres Community, a shelter in Bustos, Bulacan, which provides home and education to some 100 orphans and downtrodden children.

The ball was held Sept. 20 at the elegant Old Bermuda Inn with Fr. Florentino “Fr. Boyet” Concepcion, founder of the St. Martin de Porres mission, as guest of honor.

It was highlighted by a cash raffle, non-stop dancing and a presentation by Fr. Boyet.

Describing the harsh realities of life for those living in the dark interiors of the slums of Tondo, Manila, Fr. Boyet said hunger and deprivation are the life’s hardest lessons for the underprivileged.

He said those who have more in life can be guilty of gross indifference and neglect if they pretend the poorest of the poor do not exist at all.

“The very basis of our involvement in the struggles of the poor is connectedness and fraternal responsibility,” said Fr. Boyet, who flew in from Manila for the event.

“We are our brother’s keepers.”

Aside from financial assistance, San Martin de Porres also need volunteer teachers who specialize in arts and cooking, as well as computer and sports.

Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin started in 2002 as a soup kitchen for Metro Manila’s hungry, dirty and unruly kids until they learned their first prayer and felt freedom from fear during the night, according to Fr. Boyet.

In December 2003, a permanent home for these children was built in Bonga Menor, Bustos, Bulacan on a lot donated by a generous couple.

The construction of the home was also made possible by donations of Good Samaritans.

The residence now takes care of street children, runaways, orphans, destitute and physically abused.

Currently, about a dozen of the children are in college, while the rest are in nursery, elementary and high school.

Also, the San Martin residence is presently constructing a center exclusively for the female residents to separate them from the boys for safety reasons.

“When the poor are loved, Jesus is loved,” Fr. Boyet said.

“When the poor is consoled, Jesus is consoled. Nothing is more endearing in His sight.”

Zoila Mendoza, a travel specialist who has devoted her time supporting the mission, said the Philippine-American Outreach Program is also looking for those wish to sponsor a child for $360 to $660 a year.

“Their sponsorship educates, nourishes, motivates and gives hope to the neglected and less privileged children,” Mendoza told the Filipino Reporter.

As part of the sponsorship program, donors will receive a photo of the child, basic information about the child and his or her family background, and a yearly update on the child’s progress.

Interested parties may visit or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

PAOPI is founded by Robert Angeles, with the board of trustees composed of Luisito Banzon, F. James Brightwell, Victoria Dazon, Dennis Toomey and Carlito Peralta, with Fr. Tony Bautista and Fr. Boyet Concepcion as spirtual advisers.