ACN is supporting a solidarity project that is rescuing around 300 people living in the Tabbaleh neighborhood, one of the poorest in Damascus, from absolute poverty. With the help of ACN, the local parish prepared a kitchen to offer hot meals every day to those who can no longer even have bread on the table. There, every day, a miracle of the breaking of bread takes place.
In Damascus, as in most cities, there is no need to talk about the war that continues to rage in Syria after 12 years. Even without fighting, even if no shots or bombings are heard, in Damascus war is present everywhere. It’s like a ghost that doesn’t disappear.
It is present on people’s faces, in the despondent looks, it is present in conversations, in the anguish of families, in parents who are no longer able to feed their children. It is present in the cold houses of this winter, in a country where everything is missing, starting with food and ending with heating fuels.
Survival is increasingly difficult these days in Syria. But there are some places where people’s poverty still stands out more. This is the case of Tabbaleh, a neighborhood in Damascus. Even a stranger realizes this when passing by, when crossing paths in its streets with people who can no longer hide the immense difficulties in which they live.
WORKING AND LIVING IN MISERY
Tabbaleh is located in the southwest of Damascus and was one of the areas most affected during the fierce fighting of the civil war, as it is on the front line between the city of Almleiha and the capital of Syria. There it seems that fierce battles can still be heard in the ruins of the buildings that litter the streets and that only resemble suffering and death. It is a memory that lasts and that spares no one.
The Parish of Saint Youssef is located in Tabbaleh. It has three priests and around 1600 families. The majority belong to the public sector and work for the State. But that currently means nothing. A teacher, for example, only earns around 18 euros a month, the price of a kilo of powdered milk. The economic and social situation is so serious that even those who have jobs, are in poverty.
“BITES OF LOVE” IN THE PARISH
The parish of Saint Youssef is very active. The three priests launched several initiatives seeking to alleviate people’s suffering, especially those in a more delicate situation, the elderly, the sick, and children.
In fact, everyone is in a difficult situation. Buying meat or oil or fuel for heating is almost impossible. Frequent power cuts make these people’s lives even more complicated, preventing, for example, the storage of fresh products.
It is in this extremely difficult context that the project “Bites of Love” was born, a local initiative that has the support of ACN. Now, for a year, in the Parish of St. Youssef, no one will go without food. The miracle of breaking bread is experienced there every day.
To prepare hot meals for these hundreds of people, a refectory was created and very appropriately called ‘Family House. Thus, through this ACN project, the Church not only supports employees and their families, but also provides hot meals three times a week to all people in need.
In addition, meals are also delivered to elderly people who, due to their health conditions, are unable to leave their homes.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE THIS CHRISTMAS
This is an essential campaign, not only for the emergency humanitarian aid it provides, but also for giving some hope to Christian families. Before the war began 12 years ago, there were around 2 million Christians in Syria. Now, there will only be 300 to 400 thousand.
It’s no longer just about people’s survival. It is really the permanence of the Christian community that is at stake, that is at stake in this land where the conversion of Saint Paul took place, when the apostle was on his way to Damascus, the city where now, in the parish of Saint Youssef, desperate attempts are made to “Let no one have an empty plate…”
In this parish, a miracle happens every day- the sharing of bread, a miracle only possible thanks to the solidarity of countless benefactors of the ACN who support this idea with their generosity.