Tuesday, November 08, 2005

For those less fortunate

As well you know Christmas is only just round the corner, and as anyone who knows me it is a time which has always been special for me - in other words I just love the whole thing - even the crass commerciality.

However there are many less fortunate than ourselves, and I have reproduced below an article which is on St Saviours web site.

http://www.anglicanriga.lv/anglik.nsf/DraudzeView/Draudze_angliski

As you can see the church is funding a home for dysfunctional families and children.

So I would like to suggest that we try and give a little cheer to this group at Christmas Time either by way of cash or anything else which you might wish to donate.

If anyone has any ideas please let me know

The following is taken from the Church Web Site which was published prior to Christmas 2004 :

For 1 ½ years, Revd Dr. Juris Cālītis has set up, personally financed and managed Zvannieku Mājas, a shelter for dysfunctional families and children, deep in the Latvian countryside.

Revd Cālītis is the Pastor of The Anglican Church of St. Saviour in Riga and the Dean of Theology at the University of Latvia.

The shelter is located some two hours outside of Riga. Poverty and alcoholism are a constant condition for those living in this isolated region of Zvannieku. Zvannieku Mājas, at present, shelters fourteen children from the ages of 19 months of age to 19 years.

One family of three children, ages 1 ½ years, 5 and 7 years, have been under the care of Zvannieku Mājas for 2 ½ years and have successfully been reunited with their mother at the shelter.

It is the goal that the remaining 8 children benefit from the safety and care they receive in this home and that they be re-united with their parents sometime in the future. In the meantime they attend school and church and have activities with other young people and adults in the countryside and Riga.

Most of all, they experience love and nurture in a family environment and maintain constant contact with their families whom the shelter also assists.In the winter the driving conditions are treacherous and without the use of a 4 wheel drive vehicle, sometimes all supplies must be carried in on foot and distance of several kilometers.

This year, Revd Cālītis was able to purchase a used jeep; but on occasion, that too cannot avoid getting stuck in snow drifts.

Even a large bus which brought 35 persons to the area for a Christmas celebration got stuck for several hours and had to be pulled out with a logging truck.

Water must be carried from the lake (frozen in the winter) until such time as pipes can be laid bringing water from the neighboring village. Because there are no indoor toilet facilities, the digging of a septic tank is necessary to enable two toilets to be installed within the house.

This has now been started through a grant from the Norwegian Embassy but work cannot continue until Spring. Slowly the most important issues are being addressed. But, there are many other areas that need to be taken care of.

The kitchen facilities are another crucial concern. Cooking is done on a small electric stove which is not adequate for the number of persons living at the shelter. Heating of the two-storied house is done by one wood fireplace. Because the house is in the stages of restoration, walls, internal rooms and doors are not yet completed.

Many thousands of Lats are necessary for the completion of the house.As you can imagine, the conditions during the past years were very primitive and arduous for all involved; but nevertheless, it was better than the conditions that the children had experienced in their own homes.

The children are thriving under the loving care of Revd Cālītis, the Director and those who attend to them. Women from his congregation volunteer their time on a rotating basis to see to the needs of the children, prepare meals and do the chores necessary for such a large group of persons. There are other children from the neighboring orphanage that would love to be housed in such a shelter. Whenever possible, these children are brought into the shelter to share the benefits of a loving, home atmosphere.

This Christmas, six of these children spent the holidays at Zvannieku Mājas. During the summer months, as many as an additional 30 have come to camp, share food, sports and other activities.During mid-December a church service was held in a neighboring village, where large "care" packages were distributed to approximately 45 other needy from surrounding areas.

This year the recipients had doubled in number from those previously given because of the increase in donated products and clothing and the contact that had been made with those who could benefit. Once a month a Lutheran church service is held in this old, Lutheran church and there too, the numbers are increasing.

It is due to the involvement of Revd Cālītis with the local officials (he meets with them weekly), that many initiatives are taking place that benefit the entire area. Note: The recent policy statements of the Latvian government are in line with those of the shelter.But, needless to say, all of this takes money.

It is for this reason that I appeal to you. I believe that additional monies would considerably enhance the care that the shelter provides. I

also believe that any funds would greatly contribute to the social wellbeing and promote sustainable health, where existing services are insuffiently developed.

If you care to make a direct deposit into the bank, the information you need is: Latvijas Kraja Banka, UBALLV2X, Zvannieku Mājas, Acct. No. 1100-122-973-001, Riga, Latvia LV 1050.

Direct deposits are advisable as there is a large percentage deducted for cash and check conversions.

Postal Address: Revd. Dr. Juris Cālītis, Founder and Vice President; Sandra Dzenīte, Director; Pils 9-9A, Riva, LV1050 Latvia. Public Charity No. 000807055; Tax Reg. No. 40008070557.

Please continue to pray for these children and parents and their caretakers at Zvannieku Mājas.

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