Boxes of Love to Broken Families
It is estimated that Greece currently has between two to three million people living below the poverty line. A few years ago, most of these people had good jobs, with normal-or-above standards of living. However, the picture today is very different, with poverty and financial difficulties haunting the lives of many families and households.
The youth at Nectar of Love (the Seva centre) felt that they should do something to relieve at least a few families from their heavy burdens. Therefore, during the last month, the team took the decision to begin regularly delivering boxes of food and basic goods, to families in severe need. These boxes consist of several kinds of beans, olive oil, lentils, rice, pasta and macaroni, detergents, soap, washing powder, general cleaning liquids, sugar, flour and canned milk, amongst other things.
As a first phase, two and a half tonnes of food were ordered, creating a total of around 120 medium-large sized boxes. In collaboration with the local church who were able to identify and confirm those living under difficult conditions, the youth gave almost half of the boxes to individuals and households suffering from financial problems. The other half of the boxes were taken and handed out to an orphanage in a remote area of southern Athens. The conditions were appalling: the orphanage had almost no support or resources left with which to take care of the children. They were extremely grateful for the help, thanking the team again and again.
To their good fortune, the youth were able to repeat this activity again shortly afterwards, but this time around the experience was more powerful. Through a reliable and trustworthy source, they identified 40 families and households in several areas of northern Athens that had been shattered by the economic crisis. Beginning at around midday, a small team drove to each house, door to door, delivering the boxes until late in the evening. By the grace of God, every household welcomed the team inside. Each family had a tragic story: loans taken pre-crisis which were impossible to repay; both parents unemployed with several young children; a father having abandoned the family leaving a jobless mother to take care of the children; people living without electricity, and much more. It was an eye-opening, humbling experience for everyone that took part.
Looking back, this has been one of the most impactful and touching Narayana Seva activities undertaken to date, and the youth pray that they will continue to have the resources to keep it up. A small team like this one may be unable to help huge number of families, but the vision is to influence other people to begin doing to the same, leading to vastly greater results and also helping those providing this Seva to transform themselves. Coming in touch with each family, talking with them, seeing and feeling their difficulties, definitely creates a sense of urgency to serve as much as possible. To share the pain of these less fortunate people expands one’s heart, and leads to the realisation that truly ‘others’ are our own.