Story and photos by Fr. Richard Alejunas, SDB
(Chicago, Ill., April 23, 2020) – For almost four years now, a group of 20-40 parishioners from St. John Bosco Parish in Chicago have gathered twice a month to prepare over 200 lunch bags for men and women living on the streets of Chicago. The Caridades de Cristo Resucitado, or Charity of Christ Risen, was founded in 2016 by Fr. Thomas Provenzano, SDB. On alternate Saturdays, the food pantry aids 600 family members.
In a short time, the world has changed, but the desire to show God’s love has not! With churches, schools, and some social services closed during the pandemic, the members of St. John Bosco Caridades could no longer assemble to prepare meals to be distributed. The group instead, has taken to the streets. Encouraged by the Salesian community, some members of Caridades purchase over 100 boxed sandwiches every two weeks to distribute to those living on the streets. Fr. Richard Alejunas, director, says, “Following all safety guidelines, these local heroes continue their ministry for the most vulnerable. They are truly ‘good Christians and honest citizens’!”
Left, St. John Bosco parishioner Rigoberto Alvarez, one of the leaders of the social justice outreach Caridades de Cristo Resucitado, chats with Señora Maria, one the homeless beneficiaries of the Saturday lunch program.
Caridades de Cristo seeks out the homeless who find a safe shelter under the highway bridges of Chicago.