John Paul II Foundation / Magazine / Milk for babies, medicine for adults: Lebanon can't wait

Milk for babies, medicine for adults: Lebanon can't wait

Imagine being a laborer, having an infant son and discovering that a package of powdered milk for your child costs more than you earn in a week. In Lebanon, for too long now, this has been a daily reality for millions of people (60 percent of the population now lives in poverty), plunged into an economic but also political and social crisis that, today at least, seems far from a solution. At times like these, union may not be strength but solidarity is. So the John Paul II Foundation and the Focolare Movement Italy have combined experience and expertise to carry out an intervention to help the suffering population. And we speak of experience not by chance. The Focolare Movement has managed to create, in the most difficult period for Lebanon (the explosion in the port of Beirut is August 4, 2020) but also for Italy because of the pandemic, a dual network: an Italian one, now spread in 12 regions thanks to groups of volunteers, but also to doctors and pharmacists, to collect those medicines, especially those for the chronically ill, of which there is a dramatic lack and desperate need in Lebanon; and a Lebanese one, which takes charge of surveying the needs and distributing the collected medicines(at the end of this article all the links to learn more). However, there is no shortage of other interventions, such as distributing basic necessities to hundreds of needy families and providing educational materials to hundreds of students.

The John Paul II Foundation has also been active for a long time in Lebanon, with projects aimed at the neediest segments of the population, including in refugee camps where people who have fled Syria and Iraq have flocked. Most recently, at Christmas last year, thanks to a fundraising campaign that followed the appeal of Monsignor César Essayan, vicar apostolic of Beirut, the Foundation enabled the opening of Crossing Together, a center dedicated to the needs of the poorest part of Beirut's population: distributions of food and hot meals, but also a legal desk, a psychological support service and twice-weekly a medical team available for basic care.

It was important to mention these activities as a reminder that the new initiative is entrusted to capable and experienced hands that will get every single contribution to the right destination. Now, in the face of the frightening crisis in Lebanon, the Focolare Movement and the John Paul II Foundation have decided to work on two emergency fronts well known to them: the supply of medicines for the sick and that of powdered milk for newborns. Fronts that, beyond any Christmas-related rhetoric, cannot fail to touch the heart of any person of good will. Something has already been done: thanks to the Unicoop of Florence, a first donation of powdered milk has been arranged. But the most remains to be done and cannot be done, not completely, at least, without the contribution of each of us.

Many, listening to the news, must be wondering at this point: how will the collected medicines and milk reach Lebanon? The costs, the risks...all true, except that Unifil(United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), the military force, commanded by General Stefano Del col, that the UN has deployed in South Lebanon and has put its transports at the disposal of this noble civilian mission to help a suffering people, is also in the game. As they said, unity makes solidarity. 

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John Paul II Foundation projects in Lebanon:

The Crossing Together center in Beirut:

Monsignor Essayan's appeal:

For interventions related to the activities of the Focolare Movement.

The (completed) intervention after the August 2004 explosion at the port of Beirut:;

The still ongoing intervention to support needy families and students:

For the Unifil mission and Italy's participation:

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