The families cared for by Càritas de Reus dwindle as many of them are absorbed by the El Roser Social Center

Càritas Interparroquial de Reus attended, in terms of basic needs, to 894 families in 2020 and 639 in 2021. The decrease in the number, in the words of the director of the entity, Miquel Maria Aragonès, is justified by a decrease in the activity "due to the arrival of the pandemic and the launch of the El Roser Social Center, which has absorbed many of these families."

Activity in the soup kitchen was ongoing with 33,650 meals collected in person and 22,669 meals delivered to homes in 2021. The opening of the municipal social center meant that the soup kitchen on Francisco Bartrina street, which was run by Cáritas, closed, "although we continue to partly involved, since one of the UTE companies that manages Roser's food services is from Cáritas and part of the human team has relocated there. This is ARADA Empresa de Inserción Cáritas Diocesana Tarragona SL, which together with Formación y Trabajo, Empresa de Inserción SLU form the Joint Venture ARADA and FITEI Alimentació Reus. This was one of the topics that Aragonés presented in an assembly in which the activities report and the economic report for 2020 and 2021 were approved, as well as the budget for the current year, which has 161,000 euros of income and 167,000 euros of expenses.

«Reviewing the years 2020 and 2021, and as we always observe, volunteers are essential and with the arrival of the Covid we reduced them from 300 to 200 people (2020). In general, volunteers are of a certain age and we wanted to minimize their social exposure”, added the director of Càritas.

The projects

As of today, Càritas de Reus is working on counting the volunteers who collaborate with the entity, from which yesterday they made an appeal to get more young volunteers, too. "Thanks to many volunteers and hired professionals" numerous projects are carried out in Càritas de Reus, such as 'Llet i farinetes', which helps mothers and babies; or those that have to do with the workplace, such as the Orla programme, which takes into account training for social and labor insertion, as well as guidance. "Our intention is to improve job orientation, in which, in addition to collecting resumes and referrals, we will also carry out interviews, to offer more personalized and close attention", explained, for her part, the Social educator, Marta Calbet.

Other Càritas projects are Filigrana, the social wardrobe, which, according to Aragonès, "is essential and an income source that reverts to other social actions." "For any emergency, we also have social housing," recalled the director.

One of the projects that has been "very well received" is that of pedagogical support for children and adolescents, which released a new name yesterday: it went from being 'Support pedagogics' to 'Support pedagogics Dolors Cuadrada'.

"We owe a lot to Cuadrada and he deserves that the project bear his name, he dedicated his time to the initiative, and it has been in force for 40 years," said Antonieta Roig, one of the volunteers in charge of the activity. In it, children and adolescents review and, if they have finished their homework, "we teach them Catalan and mathematics." «In 2021, there were 90 students attended and 20 volunteers. This year, the number of children and adolescents has increased to 165, children between P5 and first grade, and now we are 28 volunteers, "explained Roig. Among those who provide the pedagogical reinforcement, there are those who are "students of medicine, architecture and engineers, as well as retired teachers and pediatricians".

The profiles

The profiles of the people who come to Càritas, say the group, is "very broad". One of the sensations is that there are "more young people" who need help lately, something that they attribute to the energy crisis, but the figures do not really reinforce the thesis. "The average age ranges from 25 onwards, up to approximately 60", explains the social worker of Càritas de Reus, Raquel Castaño, together with the Social educator, Marta Calbet. The techniques explain youth profiles have seen both autochthonous and migrated. "In the case of young couples who have migrated, they usually come alone, they don't have family here and they need a lot of help," explains Castaño. There are "many people" who have been hurt by the arrival of the pandemic and who "still drag it": "We met people who had occasional jobs in the restaurant industry and who have not been able to recover after the reactivation of the different sectors, and work perhaps helped support the rest of the family.

Some actions that Càritas will implement, on the other hand, will be a migration service with a technician from Càritas Diocesana de Tarragona, in which a lawyer will help the user with administrative issues, generally in an irregular situation, and the sewing workshop will return.

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