ACASVI (St. Vincent’s Charitable Association) is an International Branch of the Vincentian Family, a non-profit incorporated institution that for twenty-five years has provided comprehensive services to some sixty-five elderly men and women. Among these people is a group of “ashamed poor people” from the parish of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Miraflores, Lima, Peru.
Who are the ashamed poor?
The ashamed poor are people who never had to experience deprivation and who, upon reaching old age, were left without financial means, without a retirement pension, without health insurance and without relatives who wanted or could take care of them.
Since they never needed to ask for help, they don’t know how to do it and it is a group that few are concerned about helping
How does ACASVI function?
In the Food Service: Every week we provide a package of food, which has been carefully selected by a specialized nutritionist, in order to provide the elderly with healthy choices.
The Food Service Coordinator had foreseen the funds that would be required to cover the first 15 days of the quarantine, later we resorted to our savings from the different activities carried out and gave each beneficiary one Gift Card that would enable these persons to cover their food needs for the subsequent two weeks, that is, until the week of April 6.
Thanks to the Divine Providence, we had the support of Central Government and in coordination with the Municipality and our pastor Father Arturo Aguirre C. M., the people on our list for food assistance were cared for during the entire month of April.
For the four weeks of May, we agreed to give these individuals cash (this was not in accord with our usual method of work , but we viewed this as an emergency and an extraordinary situation). We went to the homes of these persons in order to prevent them from becoming infected if they should have to leave their house. Also by providing these persons with money they were able to shop in places close to their home and also able to buy what they saw as most essential.
We have continued to use this system and we carry it out effectively, thanks to the participation of each of the volunteers who hav committed themselves to this work for the duration of this pandemic.
- We create a list of all the beneficiaries.
- The food coordinator distributes the names to a team who is that charged with calling each beneficiary and coordinating the day and time when they will be visited.
- Another team separates the different lists so that beneficiary is assigned to one of three different distribution centers, our headquarters or the home of two of our volunteers.
- The envelopes with money and the name of each beneficiary are sent by taxi to the 3 different places where they will be distributed to the beneficiaries.
- These lists are signed by the person in charge of collecting the money, after identification with their ID, which was issued by telephone at the time the Volunteer in charge communicated.
- After distribution, each volunteer calls their different beneficiaries to verify that they received the money who then informs the volunteer in charge of record keeping
Health Services: the coordinator has enabled the delivery of medications and other hygienic items and periodically communicates with the various persons who are suffering from some chronic disease.
In cases of death, the volunteer in charge, in coordination with the health coordinator communicates this information to the doctor from the Municipality of Miraflores, with whom we work in a coordinated manner. In this way the proper certificates are issued and we then proceed to contact the funeral services agency.
In the event that the beneficiary does not have relatives, we have had assistance from the parish and medical personnel who provide us with the necessary support.
Formation Service through a WhatsApp group: we report regularly about the different formation workshops and Masses that are celebrated in the different parishes of the Vincentian Family.
We have other services that are currently not functioning because of the present situation .
Despite the restrictions, at ACASVI we know that communication is very important. For this reason, through virtual platforms, we participate in different meetings to remain informed about the progress, donations and management strategies, of the different situations that these unprecedented circumstances are presenting to us. We have been reinventing ourselves in order to be able to confront these new situations and provide comprehensive services to the people whom we serve.
An example of this: – because we have been to carry on our self-financing activities but have had to do this in a virtual manner. We created an informative video and now our products are available over the internet … we have had a good response to this initiative.
Our next project is to bring Technological Training to the majority of our beneficiaries so that during this Pandemic we can all feel united and connected by the various social networks.
Each volunteer maintains frequent communication with their beneficiaries and communicates with the relevant service provider in order to assist whenever the need arises.
Any and all contributions are welcome.
Verónica Saer Ode,
President of ACASVI