Caritas Hungary helps three thousand families to grow vegetables

To promote self-care and sustainable living, Caritas Hungary (CH) is launching its “Lively Gardens Programme” again this year, supporting three thousand people in need – elderly as well as families – by distributing sowing seeds in several villages and towns across the country.

The opening event of the 2024 season took place on 19 March in Szabadbattyán (central Hungary), where Bishop Antal Spányi, President of Caritas Hungary, handed over the seeds to local families and together they sowed the first seeds.

Caritas Hungary donated 14.5 million forints worth eighteen types of vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, asparagus, pumpkin, kohlrabi, parsley, beetroot, two types of carrots, two types of peas, onions, sweet corn and three types of beans, to be distributed countrywide this spring, helping the sustainable living and self-care of 3,000 families through its “Lively Gardens Programme”, an initiative launched the first time 10 years ago.

At the season opening event, László Mayer, deputy deacon, parish priest of St. Emeric Church in Szabadbattyán, welcomed all those who came to the event in the community hall of the parish: Bishop Antal Spányi, president of Caritas Hungary, Mrs Hortenzia Máté Sinkovics, director of Székesfehérvár Diocesan Caritas Centre, local volunteers of the organisation and the families present. Afterwards, Mrs Mária Árpási Kamocsa, head of St. Elisabeth Caritas Group in Szabadbattyán, the main organiser of the event, welcomed the guests.

In his speech, Bishop Spányi pointed out the essence of Caritas Hungary’s aid programme, We are guided by the idea that it is important to see with a sensitive heart when someone is in trouble, when someone needs help, and to help them in a specific situation. He said that this adds to the central idea of caritas work, which is not to give fish to the hungry, but to teach them how to fish. When Caritas hands out seeds and professional help to people in need, this is what the self-help programme is doing, and the vegetables produced by God's blessing also bring relief and joy to the families. Finally, he thanked the donors for their contribution and the accompanying work done by the volunteers in the Lively Gardens campaign and asked God's blessing on the vegetable growers who joined the programme.

The seed project was presented by Mrs Hortenzia Máté Sinkovics, director of Székesfehérvár Diocesan Caritas Centre, highlighting the more than a decade-long tradition of the initiative and its community-building and self-care support significance. As Mrs Máté Sinkovics said: “In the Diocese of Székesfehérvár, 207 families are participating in this support programme, with volunteers from parish Caritas Groups distributing seeds to families in need in about 14 settlements in these days.” Newcomers will also receive a sowing guide to help with the sowing work. After the handing over of the seeds, the first row of carrots was planted in the garden of Mrs Fejes, a local pensioner, with the active participation of Bishop Spányi, thus signalling the importance of cultivation and community work.


Photo: Tivadar Körtvélyes


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