The Embassy of the Sovereign Order of Malta in Belgrade organized for the months of December, January and February, a series of days devoted to “a hot meal for a cold winter.”
Saturday, January 11th, 60 people gathered in the town of Aleksinac, with the local Caritas, to receive a lunch hosted by the Embassy of the Order, together with a special blessing by Catholic Archbishop of Belgrade, HE Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar, and the Orthodox Deacon Nenad Popovic. The opening day of the initiative was attended by the Ambassador of the Order, Alberto di Luka, the Mayor of Aleksinac, Nenad Stankovic, the Director of the local hospital, Dr. Dragan Stamenkovic, and Bratislava Stojkovic, coordinator of Social Affairs at the Center for Social Work of Aleksinac. Also present was the Director of the Serbian Caritas Miloje Veljic, valuable organizational partner for this important event of human solidarity.
Greetings by Ambassador di Luca and the words of faith and encouragement of HE Archbishop Hocevar were wishes of good luck for the Orthodox New Year and aimed at sharing a moment of serene brotherhood, with those whose life’s marked by many difficulties. The launch of the initiative in Aleksinac was followed by the one already in progress from December, in the town of Sabac. The first dinner was in fact organized, for the Holy Catholic Christmas, in the structures of the Parish of St. Anne. On December 30th, there have been two lunches offered to 75 people, one at the Psychiatric Department of the Hospital and the other at Day Hospital dedicated to people with mental disorders.
A special focus was bestowed upon these patients in need especially because as well as being in financial difficulties, they are often devoid of family warmth and find themselves in severe social conditions. On January 3rd, the “hot meal “ was offered by the Embassy of the Order at the Center for refugees from Bosnia and Croatia. Sabac lies close to the borders with Bosnia and Croatia, where, in the 90s, more than 8,000 were refugees and in this city was then created one of the first shelters for refugees. Currently there are still hosted about 80, most of whom were elderly and people in need of care who have no home to go to. The initiative promoted by the Order will continue, both in Sabac and Aleksinac, for the months of January and February.