SPAIN: Salesian Youth Raise Money for Families in Need
(MissionNewswire) More than 3,000 families were provided food, toys and clothing this past holiday season thanks to efforts by Salesian Youth Centers in Spain. Each year the centers focus on raising money and acquiring donated goods for families in need. With the ongoing financial crisis in Spain there were many families in need this past year and by all accounts more was raised than previous years to meet the growing need.
According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live on. With one in five citizens living below the poverty line, Spain now has the greatest inequality of the 27 countries of the European Union.
Youth in the Salesian Centers donated their free time to focus efforts on more than 30 fundraising campaigns in various towns and cities in Spain. The campaigns included runs hosted by youth associations, football tournaments and food, book and toy collection programs.
Each fundraising initiative operates under a unique name such as Operation Kilo, Operation Baby Food and Operation Cart. In most cases these initiatives have become an annual tradition held during the holiday season. 2012 marked the 26th year for Operation Kilo. Dozens of different approaches were utilized in the many campaigns but all shared the same goal to help those in need.
“There is agreement by all those that participated that the campaigns were a great success and that the collection was larger this year than previous years, allowing many more families to be helped,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “This has all been possible thanks to the cooperation of many individuals, small businesses, supermarkets, food suppliers and local toy shops.”
From the numerous campaigns 76,235 kg of food, 4,054 kg toys, 2,558 kg of clothing and 12,932 euro was collected. Most of the money collected was distributed among local nonprofit organizations in the area including Caritas, hospitals and centers for the sick and elderly, to support them in their work.
In other instances the money was used to set up charitable projects for development cooperation as was the case with Bingo Support, a campaign organized by Club Esplai Amigos at Terrassa that offered the funds it had collected to support the Laura Vicuña School in Benin. This school, run by Salesian Sisters, works with young girls who have been abused and are at risk of trafficking and includes a shelter and alternative education center.
“These donation campaigns are a great example of how our youth in Salesian programs are able to take what they have learned and pass it forward, supporting families in their community in a time of need,” adds Fr. Hyde.
World Bank – Spain