Les marchés communautaires gérés par l’Eglise
In 2012, right after Cyprus was affected by the financial crisis, the Holy Archbishopric of Cyprus operated the first community market, for families who were finding it difficult to afford the basic human necessities. Food (beans, spaghetti, long lasting milk, flour, rice, cereals, etc.) and hygiene supplies were given to low income families on a monthly basis. The impact of the Church in society is enhanced by the personalized way it supports the needy families. Its website (in Greek) specifies the procedure of the community markets. Destitute families who belong to the parishes of the Nicosia region should come in consultation with the priest of their parish in order to seek aid. The priest examines each particular case and prepares a list of names. Based on this list, the Archbishopric prepares a package with food to be collected by the priests every month.
There are currently 52 community markets operating in Cyprus, of which 12 are controlled by the Church’s Bishoprics and monasteries (see complete list here) in cooperation with the municipalities. Enterprises, organizations and individuals are also contributing to the charitable work of the Church, either by funding or with donations.
In a recent interview, the Archbishop said that around 10,000 people are receiving food from the Church on a daily basis, however no information on the costs was given. An article about the Bishopric of Limassol published in a local newspaper, stated that 400 families are receiving food packages every month and around 900 people –students and unemployed– are being fed daily in the Bishopric. This costs no less than € 65.000 per month. In addition to the soup kitchens, the Bishopric has a center offering psychological support and guidance as well as a program to support single-parent families.
The Church of Cyprus also supports the initiative of the Ministry of Education, ensuring breakfast (sandwiches and juice) to 13,000 pupils from destitute families across Cyprus for the academic year 2014-15.