The Vincentian Family in Slovakia is mostly bound together thanks to the nationwide collection called Fight against Hunger which is realized via selling gingerbread hearts. The yield from the selling is meant to support the poor from Haiti, Honduras, Ukraine, Albania and Russia – i.e. the countries in which there are Slovak Vincentian missionaries – fathers and brothers from the Congregation of Mission and sisters from the Company of Daughters of Charity and Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Satmaru. The collection is organized by these branches of the Vincentian Family: The National Association of Society of Christian Love, St. Vincent de Paul Association, The Company of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, The Congregation of Mission, Vincentian Marian Youth, Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Satmaru, The Family of the Immaculate, DePaul Slovakia and Association of the Miraculous Medal.
The first collection took place in 2007. Since then the whole organization of the collection, as well as the cooperation of the branches, has been gradually improving. A separate commission for Fight against Hunger was established a few years ago. The commission consists of 7 members from all the above mentioned branches of the Vincentian Family. The committee meets twice per year – once before the collection (a preparatory meeting during which practical questions of the collection’s organization are being addressed), and after the collection (a meeting during which the committee evaluates the progress and results of the collection). The National Association of Society of Christian Love is responsible for: requesting an authorization from the Ministry of Interior for the organization of the collection, requesting an approval from the bishops so that the collection can be done in parishes, performing and publishing the yield and organizational costs of the collection, ensuring production and distribution of the promotional materials to the centres. The centres where volunteers can pick up the materials are convents of the sisters of Satmaru and of Daughters of Charity in these cities: Trenčín, Nitra, Košice, Vrícko, Kežmarok, Žilina, Dolný Kubín, Bratislava, Rožňava.
The Vincentian Marian Youth is actively participating in this collection – from its preparation to its realization. We attend the meetings of the Fight against Hunger Commission, we bake gingerbread hearts, we pack the hearts and we also sell them in front of churches as well as in public places. Most often our VMY youth bakes the hearts in their parishes and then they meet and pack them and then sell the hearts in their parish or in the surrounding ones. Many young people help the Daughters of Charity, especially in the bigger towns where there are more possibilities for selling of the hearts. Therefore, September is a month of an intensive cooperation of VMY youth with the Daughters of Charity or other branches of the Vincentian Family. The time spent together within the baking, packing and selling is fulfilled with work but also with having good time and with friendly and spiritual talks. This collection also teaches young people to open their hearts towards the poor – they give themselves and their time to help those in need.