India

India: Most vulnerable people receive essential food supplies

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Salesian organizations provide food kits and baskets to ensure those living in poverty have proper nutrition

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in India are continuing to help those impacted by the deadly second wave of COVID-19. Don Bosco Nava Nirman, in Maniguda in the state of Odisha, provided free food kits to migrant workers, those living in slums, rag pickers, beggars, street vendors and tribal families. Salesians wanted to ensure that those living on the fringes of society and facing the direst circumstances still had access to adequate nutrition.

In addition, Don Bosco Nava Nirman, with the support of Bosco Seva Kendra, the planning and development office, distributed essential food supplies, including rice, oil, fruit, vegetables and biscuits, as well as masks to more than 300 families. Father Arul Das, director of Don Bosco Nava Nirman, led the program with the collaboration of the members of the community, who also visited the Bosco Study Centers in tribal villages and distributed fruit to children.

In Mumbai, Don Bosco Nerul is also focused on ensuring local communities have access to proper nutrition. It has set up the Don Bosco Cares Fridge where donors can leave food for other members of the community. Nearly 70 percent of the donations are made by local Salesian school teachers. The rest of the donations are from those passing by who have the ability to donate.

People unfamiliar with the program ask about it, and then they leave a few water bottles to see who takes them. They see first-hand that the donations are going to the people who really need food for their survival. These donors often come back and leave packaged food, food from restaurants and cash donations, which the Salesians use to buy food for those in need.

One of the volunteers who prepares food packages said, “Preparing the food for the fridge has given me a livelihood.” A recipient explained how important the refrigerator has been to her family. “I have everyone sick at home. This Don Bosco fridge has helped me feed my family.” A senior citizen, who is a frequent donor, added, “It is a joy knowing that my small contribution is feeding someone I don’t even know.”

Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.