Dear Aid to the Church in Need (ACN),

We would like to share the joy of one event which took place in our church of Saint Anthony in Istanbul- that is assistance to the needy. In time of COVID-19 the community of migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East is one of the most affected. Many of them have suddenly lost their income and their savings, which often sent back to their home countries, were inadequate. One could sense the rising fear, not only of getting infected but also a fear of a bread shortage.

Together with generous donations received, Saint Anthony of Istanbul was able to prepare food packages which were distributed on five days. Each time they were 40 bags of dry food: 5kg-rice bag, l lit oil bottle, a tomato paste tin, chicken cubes and a salt bag and from April 8th 80 bags of vegetables containing: 10-20 potatoes, 4-6 carrots, 5-10 onions, 3-9 cucumbers and 3-8 tomatoes.

The packages were distributed by the team of our parishioners from Nigerian and Filipino communities. They were supervised by friars responsible for the charitable work at the church. The main work of a team was collecting the names of households, where three or four persons shared a living, since the aid was directed not to individuals but towards families or living together groups of people. We estimate that the aid could reach up to 150 persons first time and up to 250 subsequently.

Majority of those who received assistance were Nigerians. Others came from the Philippines, Uganda, Turkey, Pakistan, Kenya, few from Ghana, Morocco and one from Iran and one from Cameroon.

We keep the lists of names and financial reports of every distribution. However, they were still others who asked for aid. The longer the lockdown, the bigger the number.

We continue with the assistance knowing that nearly all of them have lost their income and their living became very difficult. Upon receiving the bags people were very happy, congratulated for the effort undertaken and thanked all benefactors. We also hear testimonies on the part of our Christian faithful while helping each other in much more beautiful way offering the medical assistance in hospitals, encouragement or paying their rental fees upon eviction from home. We recognise that all is the work of Saint Anthony and being very grateful we pray for you and all benefactors who take care of our project of church restoration.

Best wishes,

P. lulian Pişta
Guardiano de/convento