Peru – The Mamma Margret refectory: a canteen for the poor and the elderly

19 June 2024

(ANS – San Lorenzo) – San Lorenzo, a Peruvian city founded in 1670, is the capital of the District of Barranca and the Province of Datem del Marañon, in the Peruvian Department of Loreto. With a population of around 17,000, its main streets are lined with shops and restaurants offering diverse, good food.

Yet in San Lorenzo many of its citizens face the arduous challenges of poverty, especially among indigenous groups who descend on the city for health reasons, often finding themselves in complete solitude. "Poverty is stronger and more evident among the elderly," explains Mrs Tula Pizuri, head of the kitchen at the Salesian Mamma Margaret Refectory. This canteen serves about 50 needy people every day, who have little money and receive food there for their survival. Many of them are elderly, their children have emigrated to the city, forgetting them forever.

The Salesians of Don Bosco, with almost 25 years of presence in the forests around San Lorenzo, decided in 2001 to establish a mission in the capital, making it a point of reference for missionaries and developing an educational and pastoral centre for young people. In response to the visible poverty, especially among the elderly, the Salesian community opened the Mamma Margaret Refectory a year ago – basically, a canteen for people in need.

"’Mamma Margret’ is a canteen for the poor and the elderly", say the locals without fear. Thanks to this service offered by the Sons of Don Bosco, with the cooperation of many people of good will, many people are able to guarantee themselves at least one meal a day. And the initiative of this canteen, started by Fr Raúl Acuña together with a team of committed lay people, after a year of work, retains the same enthusiasm as at the beginning. “If we lack something to prepare the daily meal, we know that God will provide,” Mrs. Pizuri says with faith.

The Mamma Margaret Refectory, in truth, is not only a canteen: because it offers not only food, but also hope and a word of encouragement to the most vulnerable in San Lorenzo. Its work is fundamental for those who, due to various circumstances, find themselves without the support of their families; and with their dedication, Salesians and volunteers demonstrate a deep rootedness in the values of charity and service.

The work of the Mamma Margaret canteen for the poor  is a testimony of solidarity and faith. While the population of San Lorenzo continues to face many challenges, the presence of this refectory represents a beacon of hope and an example of how community action can really make a difference in the lives of many people.

Currently, given the needs of the area, the Salesians are thinking of expanding the service, increasing the capacity of the dining room.

For more information, contact the "Fundación Don Bosco" of Peru.

Source: Salesians of Peru


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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