Needs in Lebanon are great as millions of refugees from both Syria and Iraq have fled there to escape conflict in their own countries. SSVP Lebanon has been able to increase their support to these refugees thanks to a generous $250,000 donation from the International General Confederation (IGC) of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. This served around 750 families with fuel tokens, blankets, and food, as well as hygiene kits. These items were distributed from February 8-12 by SSVP Lebanon Board Members, Ms. Ella Bitar (SSVP Lebanon National Council President), Mr. Brian O’Reilly (SSVP International Vice-President), and Mr. Bruno Fabre (project coordinator of the International Commission for Aid and Development (ICAD)).
The following is a call from SSVP Lebanon National Council President, Ms, Ella Bitar:
A Shout of Pain
Be merciful to me, my God, My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me … When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise — in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalms 56, 3-4-9
They left all: their homes, their memories, their childhoods, their friends and above all their country. Sheltering in Lebanon, a country devastated by 30 years of war and still yet to recuperate from political, economic, health and social crisis.
They have no choice but to sleep in tents, under any roof, far from the horrors of war, far from the shedding of criminal blood…
Looking for peace and silence away from the bombs and destruction.
They lost everything …. They found life.
How do they survive?
Many are those who wait for a food parcel from one source, or a fuel can from another ….
The hope of a visit from those in charge of NGOs who, from time to time, come to their aid trying to cover their needs.
The only hope they have is to leave for a better host country.
Thousands of children, newborns living in the freezing conditions of the mountains, barefooted, malnourished, poorly treated for illness.
A smile comforts them.
An outstretched hand, allows them to dream.
In spite of all their suffering, they are grateful for our visit and generous in receiving us and in giving something back to us.
It is true that they are helped by us, however as their eyes light up, if only for an instant, it provides us with the satisfaction and the happiness of having shared in their misery.
We take in our hearts to all; Michael, Nour, Hassan, Jamil…all these young children, their parents, their smiles, their welcome….
Will our mission finish here?
Can we stand by with our arms folded?
Can we sleep in our warm beds?
Can we feed ourselves and feel satisfied?
Can we look after ourselves and heal ourselves?
And at the same time …. Allow them to die from hunger, cold and lack of care?
We, Vincentians, we are responsible for our brothers and sisters.
We are born to love, to share and to serve …
Where is our conscience before these misfortunes?
Where is our love towards our suffering brothers and sisters?
Where are the gifts that our Lord has given us?
Where there is suffering, our mission is to be present.
Lord we have promised to serve you. We belong to you.
We will answer your call: We are Present!
Ella Bitar, President
Society of Saint Vincent-de-Paul Lebanon
Excerpted from National Council News, click here to read the full article and to see photos on the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul website.