ARGENTINA: Salesian programs across the country are responding with nutritional support to families in need
(MissionNewswire) Across Argentina, Salesians are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in their programs and communities in which they live. They are preparing and delivering meals, producing sanitizing gels and masks, and bringing supplies to poor families.
In Río Grande, Salesian missionaries are preparing sacks of food with fresh vegetables and distributing them in the city’s working-class neighborhoods. The Salesian mission of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians also has a greenhouse. A group of teachers and Salesians has collected fresh vegetables from the greenhouse and is delivering it to the chapels in the Margen Sur area, where the most popular housing blocks and neighborhoods are located.
In Almagro, a district of Buenos Aires, most of the Salesian schools and programs are closed but the refectory remains open. Food is prepared for 150 people, about 35 families, but close to 250 people show up each day. Federico Tirelli, director of the refectory, said, “There are families who attend the refectory every day but there are others now from the school and youth groups who need a hand and also receive food.”
Also, in Buenos Aires, in the municipality of Quilmes, there are thousands of poor boys and young people who Salesian missionaries routinely assist. The local Salesian center is remaining open for now so that young people can find a meal to nourish themselves.
The Salesian San José Center in Rosario is producing disinfectant sanitizing gel and masks and prepares food for people living on the street. The center is located in Rosario’s city center where it is estimated that there are more than 500 people living on the street, as well as many others living in precarious conditions. In the coming days, the Salesians plan to distribute food to more than 500 people, organizing a network of volunteers with all the necessary security and safety measures in place.
People living in Santiago del Estero are also in need of nutrition support. In response, Salesians are delivering bags of food and supplies for families living in the slums. “We think of many people who survive every day based on what they collect working on the street,” said Father Silvio Torres, director of the Salesian community. “For this reason, with the contributions of various companies and organizations within the province, we give families food parcels and educational material.”
Salesian programs across Argentina are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country prepares youth for technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help meet the basic needs of poor youth and their families by providing shelter, proper nutrition and medical care, helping youth to engage in their education and have hope for the future.
More than a quarter of the people in Argentina live in conditions of poverty with no formal employment and poor-quality education, according to the World Bank. The country’s high school dropout rate is close to 37 percent and youth account for a third of those unemployed. Almost 12 percent of children aged 5 to 17 are working instead of in school and 20 percent need government assistance. Many face malnutrition, a lack of clean water and sewage and inadequate housing.
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Salesian Missions – Argentina
World Bank – Argentina