PORTUGAL: Poor families benefit from donations
Salesians hold traditional Christmas campaigns
(MissionNewswire) Salesian centers, services and pastoral teams joined together to launch traditional Christmas campaigns in multiple cities across Portugal. These campaigns provided a range of items for poor youth and their families during the holiday season.
In Estoril, the campaign helped two associations through the sale of tickets to Christmas parties at three schools. With the proceeds, the Ajuda de Berço Association was provided food and hygiene products. The Turma Solidária Association in Alcabideche was provided clothing collected by the students.
In Évora, SolSal-Family Support Service promoted the “Hands that Multiply” food collection campaign among the educational community. Father Sebastião Coelho, director of SolSal, encouraged everyone to help more than 200 families supported by the organization and provide donations at the parish solidarity bazaar.
A campaign also took place the Salesian School in Funchal to provide comfort to the neediest families near the school. Some students were asked to contribute basic necessities for personal hygiene while others brought requested food items.
Students, teachers and staff of Salesian centers in Lisbon were asked for donations for the Christmas Campaign to benefit poor families. Students contributed hygiene products, food and baby products.
In Manique, 57 classes from the local Salesian institute made Christmas baskets filled with non-perishable food items based on the needs of local families assigned to them. In Mirandela, the campaign benefited the Children and Youth Home and families in need in eight Salesian parishes. Salesians in Mirandela also provided clothing for students in some of the city’s institutions.
The National Shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians in Mogofores collected food, clothing and gifts with the help of the parish’s social store and youth groups that will participate in World Youth Day to be held in Lisbon in 2023. The distribution of gifts during the Christmas celebration is a Shrine tradition.
Finally, the Association of Parents and Guardians of Pupils of the Porto Salesians launched a food collection drive. The baskets benefited poor families in the school, youth center and Salesian Past Pupil Center.
According to the World Bank there is close to 2.6 million people living below the poverty line in Portugal, 487,000 of whom are under the age of 18. The country is one of the most unequal countries in Europe as far as wealth distribution. Wealthy citizens earn five times the rate of income than those living in poverty.
Unemployment and low incomes are two of the factors that contribute to unequal wealth distribution. Portugal has a low hourly rate for workers in comparison to other countries in Europe. Many parents have to work multiple jobs, which leaves less time at home with their families and children. This leaves children without the proper guidance at home leading to behavior problems and lack of preparedness for school, including getting homework done and eating breakfast before coming to school.
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World Bank – Portugal