“We are in an emergency situation. All the social activity of the parish, the clothing service for the needy, the pharmacy, the employment center, psychological assistance, medical care are suspended due to the quarantine. The only thing that works is the refectory,” explains Fr Fabián Alonso on the origin of the image at the time of the coronavirus, taken in the Bonaerense district of Almagro.
“People are having a bad time,” he continues. “Every day we get more people coming to sign up. And we believe they will continue to increase with regards to food bags. For our part, we try to offer a hearty and warm meal.”
He then describes the situation of social crisis aggravated by the isolation against the coronavirus pandemic from the refectory's point of view: “We have set a limit. We cannot assist more than 250 families. Here in Almagro, we have a parish and there is the canteen of the poor of San Carlos de María Auxiliadora, but we also have another canteen in the San Antonio School, in the area of 'Mexico 4040'. They too are distributing bags of food and canned food. But undoubtedly these services are not enough compared to the demand.” Shortly thereafter, the Salesians also opened another distribution point, in the gymnasium of the school dedicated to St. Francis de Sales.
“On the one hand, on Tuesdays and Fridays we distribute bags of food to registered families, at this moment there are 250 who take one bag a week with fresh food and non-perishable food, depending on what we receive,” explains Fr Alonso. “People, in general, are very grateful. But they are also very sad, without hope.”
“Every day we prepare 200 individual trays for people in street situations. People come to the door, we hand over the trays with disposable cutlery, we put them on a table and people take them away, but you can't eat inside,” continues the Salesian.
Finally, he concludes by explaining the organization in detail: “People must bring documentation and we make a card with their data and those of family members. We are creating a database so that the same person does not receive the benefit in different places.”