MEXICO: Dining room reopens for migrants and other vulnerable people
Salesian Padre Chava Refectory reopens dining room after being closed for 15 months due to the pandemic
(MissionNewswire) After only serving take-away meals for 15 months, the Salesian Padre Chava Refectory, located at the Salesian Center in Tijuana, Mexico, is open again to the public. The refectory provides meals and other assistance to migrants from Mexico, Central America and Haiti, as well as to the homeless, the elderly, people with disabilities and those suffering from extreme poverty.
Forced to close in-person dining because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Salesians reopened the facility in early June and are now able to provide better service to those in need. People are able to eat in a quiet and safe space instead of on the ground. Despite the pandemic, Salesians continued to offer services outside, benefiting more than 1,000 people a day.
“Hunger and the needs of the people facing scarcity increased in the city during the pandemic, and we had to response the best we could given the circumstances,” explained Father Agustín Novoa, director of the Salesian Center in Tijuana. “Now, the refectory is open once again and serving people in the dining room. There are still a great number of people in need and we are meeting that day to day.”
Many workers have lost their jobs due to the closure of their workplace, and they have to decide whether to pay rent or buy food. Informal workers, such as domestic workers, were urged to stay home and remained unpaid. The challenges at the United States-Mexican border has also left many asylum seekers stuck in Tijuana, and even though many have been deported, others keep arriving.
Since 1987, the Salesian Center has been providing services to migrants and poor youth living on the border between Mexico and the U.S. The goal of the Tijuana Salesian Project is to create an extensive educational network in areas where poor youth are at risk of social exclusion. The project took shape through Salesian oratories and educational centers where children grow up learning to share faith, culture and sports within their communities.
The Salesian Center acts as a hub for migrants who, besides much-needed material help, are also offered a familiar and welcoming environment. They can access haircuts, a change of clothes, a shower, and an opportunity to call and make contact with families. The Salesian Center also has a partnership with the Red Cross and local volunteer doctors who offer psychological and medical help and assistance.
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Salesian Missions – Mexico
UNICEF – Mexico