“Mary’s Home” during the Time of the Pandemic

Paola Becerra Canío Santiago, Chile

The cafeteria “Hogar de Maria” (Mary’s Home) in Santiago was founded many years ago by the German missionary Sister M. Adelfonsis to ensure that children from needy families received a hot lunch every day.  Since the children can now eat free of charge in the state schools, “Mary’s Home” has been changed primarily to a place for providing food to the homeless and other needy adults.

Street Project (Project of the Street)

With the onset of the pandemic and because of hygiene regulations, we were forced to close the doors of our cafeteria “Mary’s Home” where around 70 people from situations of extreme need and poverty met daily to have lunch.

Various uncertainties and unanswered questions were pressuring us as we considered how to handle this situation. It was a completely new situation that came upon us, as a surprise to all. Because many people were unemployed and therefore were not in a postion to  earn their livelihood, poverty and need increased with the pandemic. We did not want to leave those who needed it most without a daily meal.

So we decided to knock on doors. We contacted two nearby parishes and and found that we shared with them the same concerns and the desire to help our brothers and sisters in need. So we put together our own “delivery system” and now distribute 100 lunches a day at various locations – both to the regulars of the “Mary’s Home” and to new recipients.

Solidarity Project Lunch (Lunch Solidarity Program)

Joining forces opened up new avenues for us, as we suddenly received unexpected donations and volunteers appeared. Through online communication platforms, we quickly met with volunteers and pastors and launched a new social program in June: the “Lunch Solidarity Program.”

In this initiative, volunteer cooks who prepare lunches at home on Tuesdays and Wednesdays work with other volunteers who distribute these meals to families and the elderly who are most in need. In this way we bring them the love and care of our Mother in heaven.


The number of those who volunteered to cook increased and so we could include three more parishes at the end of June, reaching even more people who needed this help.

This experience not only filled our own hearts with hope but also brought about alleviation of the  devastating effects of the pandemic resulting in the joy and gratitude of those most in need.

By December 2020, this solidarity program had delivered more than 3,000 food trays, equivalent to 17,000 servings – a result we never could have imagined under the circumstances.

Password: Hogar de Maria, Chile

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