PROVIDING KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & RESOURCES FOR POOREST AREAS OF QUITO, ECUADOR
Father Patrick McIntyre, the missionary priest from Ireland with whom Father Don Kenny has served with for the past nine years, had always had a dream. Most of the children who went to the public school, which virtually surrounds our church-rectory complex, go to school each day without a breakfast. He had always hoped for means to build a soup kitchen to give these needy children one square meal a day. He had the means to purchase the land for a potential soup kitchen, but not to build a facility. He shared his dream with Father Don when he arrived. With financial help from the parishes that Father Don had been involved with as pasturing in the Diocese of Joliet, enough money was raised to build the soup kitchen. Its name in English is “Soup Kitchen of St Charles Borromeo”, the patron of the Diocese Joliet.
Some statistics: According to a Notre Dame University study, malnutrition is the reason for the high mortality rate among the very young in Ecuador. They simply don’t get enough to eat. Besides that, 55% of the children have a parasitic tapeworm in their bellies.
Besides the very young, there is also the condition of the very old. If you are elderly in Ecuador and have no job or family, you are out of luck. You may starve. For these reasons our soup kitchen is open to the young and old.
In addition, Monday through Friday we serve about 90 meals per day from about 12:30 to 1:30, which is when the children leave school. The cost for this meal is minimal, and the food is well worth the price of 50 cents. We charge this small amount in order to safeguard the pride of the children and their families. Also, in order to preserve this family pride, we lower the cost to almost nothing for those who can’t pay. For those who simply have no money, we feed them for free. We also offer low monthly and family rates which most families take advantage of. No one really knows, except the program administrator, which people get this discount.
We opened the soup kitchen in the fall of 2004. Since then we have served about 9000 meals. It means the difference between having health or not having health for many people. For some, it might be the difference between living and dying.
Our hope is that the soup kitchen will continue. Most of the time, for projects started by missionaries in foreign lands, when the missionaries have to leave or retire to their home countries the projects eventually fall into the hands of the native clergy, and these projects stop. We do not want this to happen to our soup kitchen. It is our hope to establish a permanent structure to support the soup kitchen after we leave. The current cost to run the soup kitchen is about $1100 to $1200 a month. Will you please help us?