WHAT’S GOING ON??
CARITAS PAPHOS REPORTS TO YOU
Some of you have asked to know what is happening, so here is a summary. Caritas belongs to us all.
Caritas is the Latin word for love, love like Christ’s love, which is why we have chosen to be dedicated to the Sacred Heart.
Caritas is one of the largest networks in the world standing alongside the poor and disadvantaged. The HQ is in Rome, and we in Cyprus are part of Caritas Middle East and North Africa (MONA). In Cyprus, each parish has a branch, so we are Caritas Paphos. Fr. Carlos is in overall charge, with an executive committee, listed in the Coffee Shop. Contact Fr. Carlos, or Wendy Burdon 99040294 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We held an open meeting and invited your ideas about what are the greatest needs. We have also consulted as a Committee, and some needs have shown up very clearly.
FEEDING THE HUNGRY.
As you know, many people in Cyprus now struggle financially. Many jobs have gone. The government has no money and has cut welfare payments. Many people, especially non-Cypriots, are not being paid at all. Employers often pay irregularly- some simply do not or cannot pay employees. Asylum seekers are expected to fend for themselves, not knowing if they will ever receive any money. A number of organizations in Paphos are trying to meet needs, but the main sources of help are aimed at Cypriots and Orthodox people. It was clear to us that we should try to help those who cannot get help from other sources, irrespective of race or religion. Many of these are immigrant workers and asylum seekers. As winter approaches, everyone expects things will get worse. Only the other day we had a report of a local family going out to find grass to eat.
We have been collecting non-perishable food since February, and are grateful for your generosity. Please keep it up! We now serve around 40 people/families each week, and numbers are growing. They include: some of our Philippino and Sri Lankan brothers and sisters who have no work: baby Zoe and her family (the heart-operation baby we collected for recently): asylum seekers, including a Muslim young man recovering after being shot in another country: a Pakistani lad who lives alone and recently had a serious road accident; a Coptic Orthodox Egyptian lady with six children who had to flee in the recent troubles, leaving her husband behind… Thanks to a very generous gift from an anonymous donor, we can add something to the food collection.
Here is the process: we keep a careful check on who is receiving food, to make sure they are not earning significantly or getting help elsewhere. We ask for details about family and health issues. If people are able to collect, they do: if not, we will make arrangements to deliver. The food from the collection is date-checked, sorted and bagged. Some shopping is added to it to make useful-sized amounts, having an eye to what is nutritious as far as we can, and paying attention to a family’s particular needs – e.g. do they need baby food? Are there special requirements?
Barry and Wendy from The Furniture Cave, opposite the presbytery, have most kindly allowed us the use of a room free of charge where we can store food and other things. We now have a small store of donated BEDDING, a gas burner for loan, saucepans and wherewithal for cooking food. We can also help with GAS BOTTLES (exchange full for empty if someone cannot afford to heat or cook).
CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR CHILDREN
Mary Penny came up with this idea and is organizing a collection of toys, in the first instance intended for the children of the families we help with food. Mary will be happy to receive contributions- or you can give them to the priests or to staff in the Coffee Shop. Thank you again.
Thank you to those who have already organized a coffee morning, either in their own homes for a limited number of guests, or more publicly. Thank you Tuta and Tom, Jill and David, Daryl and Anna, and Jeanette. Thank you to others who have offered to hold a coffee morning in the future. Any offers are most welcome. Choose what you prefer to support: at present, the three suggestions are: gas bottles or baby supplies (a very expensive item) or the Caritas emergency fund.
IMMIGRANTS ADVICE SERVICE. To be developed.
Sadly, many immigrants suffer from injustices and have problems which they need help in meeting. For many, this begins with extortionate fees charged by agents who arrange passage: some – for example- believe in good faith that they have necessary permissions for four years and a job arranged, but when they get here find temporary permission for six months and no job. Small wonder there are major problems with visas expiring and other legislation. If you are illegal, you cannot work. If you do find work, imagine how you can be exploited. We hear of people afraid to go out in case they are swept up by the police in a crackdown- even if they are legal. We are fortunate to have the help of Mrs. Dolores Savvides Nanson, a lawyer in Limassol, experienced in these issues, and are happy we have local volunteers, including a qualified solicitor.
VISITING. To be developed.
We see a need for a group of visitors who will call on the lonely, sick, or isolated in our locality- not necessarily belonging to the Catholic community. So far this has taken second place to our priority of feeding the hungry. We need volunteers to be visitors, giving whatever time they feel they wish to offer, and no matter if they are in Cyprus only part-time.
These are ESSENTIAL, and very welcome. The Lord may well send the best ideas to the youngest and smallest!
VOLUNTEERS- FOR WHATEVER TIME YOU CAN SPARE- WHATEVER JOB YOU CAN OFFER –
WHATEVER WE DO (or don’t do) FOR THE LEAST OF HIS BRETHREN
WE DO IT TO THE LORD
DREAMS…depending on what develops as the most urgent need
A refuge for temporary shelter of the homeless, where immediate needs can be addressed and solutions sought.
A large room which can be kept warm, with comfortable seating, somewhere to cook, a washing machine, ironing facilities, a shower…and perhaps a sewing machine. This room to be available during the day, at least in the winter.
A SOUP KITCHEN, if this comes to be a clear need. Paphos may well need soup kitchens in different areas.
And most important of all
PRAY THAT WE MAY ALL HAVE A HEART LIKE THE HEART OF JESUS
Thank you again and may God bless you.