ASIA/PAKISTAN - Covid-19: young Christians create a "Food bank" in solidarity with the poorest of the poor

Wednesday, 27 May 2020 coronavirus   poverty   youth   charity   solidarity   local churches   ecclesial movements  

Sahiwal (Agenzia Fides) - Young Catholics in Sahiwal, a town in Pakistani Punjab, offer evening meals to a hundred destitute people every day, in a solidarity activity that will continue until the crisis linked to Covid-19 ends. Ashiknaz Khokhar, secretary of the youth group, speaking with Fides, says: "We are reaching the homeless, especially those who sleep on the streets, deprived of any possibility of sustenance, settled under the trees by the roadsides". And he explains: "We have created a food bank in the Catholic Church of Sahiwal with the collaboration of priests in our parish, to reach those who are marginalized, the poorest of the poor. We have an active group of young Christians, but our Muslim and Hindu friends are also actively supporting us in distributing food".
Ashiknaz informs: "Last month we distributed food to over 150 families in different areas. The idea of creating the food counter was born when we saw these people abandoned on the sides of the streets. We work to support humanity and reach the people of all faiths, not just Christians".
Mufti Sohail Shaukat, one of the Muslims who is collaborating, tells Fides: "I appreciate the services of this Christian youth because they work for humanity, without any discrimination. Thanks to this good initiative, many Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs have the opportunity to collaborate and help in this service, creating good interreligious relationships and an atmosphere of mutual trust".
The "Way of Life" youth group in the city of Karachi has also taken a similar initiative to support the poorest people. After delivering food supplies of 20 kg each to 800 Christian, Hindu and Muslim families, in the next phase they offer fresh vegetables to 100 families every day.
Michael Bhatti, the group leader, tells Fides: "Right now people are confined to their home, unable to earn money to take care of their daily needs. Many are day laborers or have lost their jobs. We make a daily collection of money, thanks to the generosity of people: then we go to the market, buy fresh vegetables, wash them and put them in 3 kg bags. We invite a priest every day to pray for our works of charity, then we start the distribution. It is our desire to help the poor and needy without distinction of faith, culture, ethnicity, as the Gospel teaches us". (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/5/2020)