French Cuisine Meets Greek Homelessness
With the hot summer months coming to an end, the youth team began cooking food again, having altered the menu over summer to cater to the hot weather. One of the highlights over the last month was a group of schoolgirls from Normandy ages 18–21, who asked to volunteer at the service centre during their short visit to Athens. It was definitely a busy day at the Nectar of Love service centre, with almost 55 people either cooking (spaghetti along with rice pudding) or organising the clothes inside the storage area! Aside from helping with the cooking, the girls also contributed by going to shop for all the ingredients and paying for them as well. Afterwards, everyone went to distribute the food to the homeless Greeks. It was definitely a beautiful experience for the girls, as they tasted the joy and fulfilment that comes with serving our fellow beings. It was an experience of love in action.
With the change in weather recently, the team noticed that homeless people sleeping in the port of Piraeus were completely exposed to the oncoming winter cold. In response to this, they ordered around 70 warm sleeping bags to be distributed. The sleeping bags arrived on a Thursday afternoon, and after the weekly Satsang, the team went out at 12 midnight distributing the much-appreciated items. The homeless were very grateful for this, because they had neither blankets nor appropriate clothing to protect themselves against the biting cold.
Narayana Seva is apparently becoming increasingly more important in Athens, with most organisations and NGOs no longer receiving funding from the EU to continue their activities, and this is made worse by a persistent economic crisis. It has been a challenge to the team’s devotion towards the cause of selfless service to persist through these turbulent times in finding a sustainable working model.
Meanwhile, the youth of Cyprus were also actively engaged in Narayana Seva. They cooked and distributed 800 fresh meals to impoverished Cypriot families and immigrants. Furthermore, they distributed 400 packages of cheese and 15kg of olives to people in need, and surprised the children of these families with popcorn and chips!