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As our annual food collection campaign comes to a close, we are once again astounded by your generosity, giving your gifts and donations to those in need this Christmas.

This week, we handed over most of the donations collected to the Cáritas charitable organisation based in La Zenia church. Taking around 40 bags packed full of food, pet food and toys, there is no doubt that the parcels will go a long way to make a difference to the families who will be directly helped by your generosity.

Accompanied by his loyal and dedicated helpers, Don Joaquin Carlos, the Parish Priest of the La Zenia Catholic church, accepted and welcomed your donations, he explained how they are currently helping between 60 and 70 families who are based on the Orihuela Costa, who have no source of income and are facing the most difficult of times.

In fact, locally, Cáritas helps families all year round, not just at Christmas, and carry out different food collection campaigns during the year, with all the donations received going to help those in need. Unfortunately, organisations like Cáritas don´t receive any subsidised help for their work, but are supported by the best human potential, from its volunteers on one side, to the families attended to who are neighbours of the Orihuela Costa and from different nationalities.

Despite a brighter prospect for most people across the country, the dark times are far from over for many. We will have to wait for their latest report to indicate how many people they are currently supporting around the area, but in June of this year, their 2013 report was published, which detailed how the Orihuela-Alicante based group had served over 81,000 people last year, 13% more than in 2012.

Moreover, of the total number of people who were helped by the group, 34,609 were men and 46,702 were women, prompting the bishop of the diocese, Jesús Murgui, to emphasise during the presentation the need to remain vigilant in the fight against poverty “because if society gets used to being in crisis, it runs the risk of becoming a chronic situation”.

During the breakdown of investments from the 2013 report, details were given of the assistance provided in areas of support, employment, job placement, homelessness, women, immigrants and people with AIDS.

The report shows that social support has meant an investment of 4.2 million euro, 5.46% more than in 2012, plus, 2.6 million went to the assistance to people at risk of social exclusion, whilst 601,285 euro was distributed towards vulnerable groups such as women, youth, elderly and AIDS patients.

The remaining revenues were shared between employment and socio-labour integration, rural community and urban action, training, communication and awareness, international cooperation and management, technical management, field monitoring and evaluation.

As for the origin of the economic resources, 72.13% came from the private sector, around 3.1 million was obtained through collections and donations, and the remainder, some 1.1 million, came from public injections.

In presenting the report, the “great work” of the volunteers was also highlighted, with their members praised for their continual support and response “in an effective, close and decisive manner”, with details of their 1,689 people who collaborated with the group last year, of which 1,636 were volunteers, an increase of 18% on the previous year.

Those in need were not forgotten in the presentation, which served to highlight the needs of countless families who are still driven by the need for food and assistance to pay for the most basic of needs such as water and electricity, but, moreover, the group has seen a noted increase in grant applications for “school supplies” or dining assistance within “households where there are children”.

In addition, during 2013, a total of 1,530 homeless people were assisted by the group, who assisted where they could in providing “housing, food, clothing, medication, processing aids, attending courses and workshops, social monitoring, and psychological and career guidance”.

Although we provide a central point for collection during our campaign, it is your generosity that makes the difference. With donations still coming in as part of this campaign, you can give donations throughout the year direct to Cáritas on the Orihuela Costa if you prefer, and you can find them at La Zenia Chapel on Mondays and Tuesdays in the afternoon from 6:30 to 7:30 pm and on Wednesdays and Fridays in the morning from 10:30 to 12:00.

The volunteers wanted us to extend their thanks to everybody involved, saying, “We wish to thank all persons who make possible this help, either with their job and with their donations of food or money”. To which we must also add our gratitude in the most sincere way we can, by saying “Thank you” once again, and wishing you all a happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/45965/

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