BETHLEHEM: Bakery produces bread for the most vulnerable
Salesian Bakery in Bethlehem produces close to 3,000 loaves of bread every day for poor families
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Bakery is a historical institution in Bethlehem, located in the West Bank just south of Jerusalem. The bakery provides food assistance to those most in need through the free distribution of bread to the poorest families. The bakery produces close to 3,000 loaves of bread every day.
Since 1891, Salesian missionaries have been living and working in Bethlehem, initially established as an orphanage for boys and then later expanding programs to meet growing local needs. Today, Salesian missionaries provide a range of educational and social activities to support the local community. Salesians offer a technical and vocational training center, the bakery, a youth center and a scouts group.
Salesians are working with other local groups to help identify those most in need of support. They provide 450 loaves a bread each day to people identified through The Union of Women and Lifegate for Rehabilitation, which is committed to assisting about 250 people with disabilities from 3 to 25 years old, and to Effetà, which guarantees schooling to 190 children who are deaf.
Muhammad, who has five people in his family, has mental health issues as does one of his children. He is unable to work and the bread helps the family save their meager amount of money for other necessities.
Another recipient is Hala Jarayseh, who is the mother of five children. Her husband died 16 years ago and she has to provide for her family alone. She explained, “I work for The Union of Women at a center for people with disabilities, but due to the economic crisis after the start of the pandemic and the blockades that have led to lower wages, I cannot cover all the expenses. I was included among the beneficiaries of free bread from the Salesians. It’s been a great help for our family. It allows us basic food coverage. I would like to thank all those who work for this precious support, which is so useful for women like me who have to manage a family.”
Bethlehem has a population close to 25,000 people and an economy that is primarily tourist driven. According to UNICEF, poverty in Palestinian territories including the West Bank, Gaza and Bethlehem varies district to district. Along the Gaza strip, poverty rates have risen as high as 60 percent with residents relying on food assistance from the United Nations. Over half of the population is under the age of 18, and children in the region grow up amid frequent outbreaks of street violence sparked by ongoing political turmoil.
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UNICEF – Bethlehem Poverty