Faced with the health crisis that the world is experiencing, the Colombian Catholic Church in its archdioceses, dioceses, and vicariates is working tirelessly with local administrations, universities, institutions, and social organizations to provide assistance aid to those who need it most. This is underlined by the press release issued by the Social Pastoral/Caritas Colombia, sent to Fides News Agency in which it is recalled that the health emergency due to Covid-19 affects all people, but it is much more difficult for those who do not have a permanent job, suffer from previous illnesses, are homeless, live on the street, have had to emigrate, and generally for all people who are in a situation of economic and social vulnerability.
To deal with these emergencies, the Church has launched various initiatives by providing food, funding, accommodation and psychosocial support in different areas of the country, thanks to the support of hundreds of people who make economic donations, to serve the more vulnerable.
The most common and important aid, the press release specifies, is the delivery of non-perishable food, to contribute to the nutrition of the people and families who need it most, including people who live on the street, street vendors or the elderly. These resources are obtained through donations made by other people and families through the parishes, and also with the support of some businessmen, in coordination with the local, regional and national administration and in some cases even with the support of international organizations.
nd through these resources they can continue to do so”, explains Father Jaime Alberto Mancera Casas of the Archdiocese of Bogotá. “We assist those who live on the streets, needy families, street vendors. Through the structures of the Diocesan Social Pastoral we reach them directly in their homes, and now more than ever our work has increased”, says Father Edgar Alfonso Gómez, Director of the Social Pastoral Care of the diocese of Sonsón-Rionegro. “We are carrying out a solidarity campaign among companies to donate food and basic necessities. We are also distributing food with the program of the Diocesan Food Bank of Social Pastoral, delivering food vouchers so that the beneficiaries can directly get what they need”, explains Father Harold Tejada Córdoba, of the diocese of Santa Marta.
Among the initiatives carried out in the dioceses: the reception of those who live on the street; accompaniment and psychological support to overcome the negative effects of quarantine (depression, anxiety, increased violence); economic aid for the elderly, children, young people and families, according to a database created with local authorities. One also tries to respond to the particular needs of all people, in individual jurisdictions, such as access to water, distribution of health products, assistance to victims of gender-based violence, youth job training … The National Secretariat of Social Pastoral Care/Caritas Colombia continues its campaign of “Christian communication of goods”, to help ecclesiastical jurisdictions to deal with the health emergency, obtaining the necessary resources to assist those most in need. “It is time to help”, underlines Caritas.