Goa-based Street Providence Trust will collaborate with Catholic dioceses in different parts of Jharkhand to open shelter homes and food banks in the state.
The first such home and food bank was opened on Tuesday afternoon at Bhusar panchayat in Chandwa block of Latehar district.
“We are happy to collaborate with Street Providence to set up the shelter home and food bank for the destitute and neglected in Latehar. This centre will only serve men. However, we have made plans to set up a similar shelter home for women and children on the outskirts of Ranchi by the end of this year. Talks are on with other Catholic dioceses in different parts of Jharkhand to set up similar shelter homes and food banks depending on the availability of land,” said Father Theodore Mascarenhas, apostolic administrator of Daltonganj diocese and auxiliary bishop of Ranchi.
The Catholic priest further informed that initially, the capacity of the shelter home in Latehar would be for 20.
“We had to restrict the capacity to 20 as several of them are suffering from mental ailments and we cannot take a risk at the moment,” said Mascarenhas.
Archbishop of Ranchi archdiocese, Felix Toppo, inaugurated the home and food bank in the presence of former Mandar MLA Bandhu Tirkey, Latehar MLA Ramchandra Singh and local administration officials.
“The Catholic church dreams that no one should be homeless and should not go hungry and we appreciate the support given by everyone to start this project and especially to the founder of Street Providence, Donald Fernandes, for setting up this project in Jharkhand. He is also sponsoring a nursing programme,” said Father Mascarenhas.
"There are hundreds of migrant inmates from Jharkhand in our homes in Goa and we want them to live with their own people. This compelled me to start a home in Jharkhand and slowly rehabilitate the migrants in their own culture and later in their respective families," informed Fernandes.
Street Providence has several rehabilitation centres for people on the street, drug addicts and the poor in Goa. It is involved in picking up homeless, housing them in designated homes and providing them food, clothing, medical treatment and rehabilitating them to stand on their own feet.
“We have mobile fridge units at all the locations where we set up shelter homes and we have started with one in Latehar too in the form of a food bank. This mobile fridge unit will be taken by our volunteers to those people who want to give their unused food instead of throwing them away in bins. The food after being brought to the home will be tested for its quality at the kitchen in the centre and if everything is satisfactory then it will be used at the home,” said Fernandes.
They have over 10 acres of agricultural land near their centre in Latehar which would be used by inmates to earn a livelihood by farming.