Xi An (Agenzia Fides) - "They have brought warmth to the homeless" was the headline on the front page of the Chinese Business View (500,000 copies daily and 17 million visitors for the internet edition) of the Chinese province of Shaan Xi. The article showed great appreciation for two initiatives led by Catholic volunteers: the "Soup kitchen of Charity" of the parish of Nan Tang and the "Soup kitchen of Mercy of the Yellow River" of the parish of Tian Xing, both of the archdiocese of Xi An, capital of the province.
According to information gathered by Agenzia Fides, the "Soup kitchen of Charity" was founded three years ago, and every Sunday offers lunch to the homeless, as well as immigrant workers and farmers. As the parishioners explain, "we are open to all those in need, because we are followers of the merciful Jesus". In order to improve their service, last summer they repaired and renovated the kitchen of the parish, to offer a cozy and well equipped place, and a shower near the church square was also installed.
After Sunday mass the volunteers dedicate themselves to this service. Periodically there are also Catholic doctors who carry out free visits to those in need. At Christmas, in winter and in summer, the same volunteers who run the soup kitchens distribute clothes, hot or fresh drinks, at the station and in various public places. According to incomplete statistics, in 2015 approximately 5,000 people took advantage of the "Soup kitchen of Charity", financed by the parish itself with about 2000 Euros. Instead the "Soup kitchen of Mercy of the Yellow River" of the parish of Tian Xing has been active for 10 years, and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday offers dinner to the homeless and the needy. In both kitchens food quality is under strict medical control, but there is also Christian love for these abandoned and marginalized people. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides 20/01/2016)