If we asked you to associate one word with Christmas, what would it be?
Maybe light, togetherness, or food. Whatever it is, it likely wouldn’t be ‘loneliness’.
Yet that’s the prospect parents at our Chiclayo sponsor site in Peru were faced with last year, when COVID-19 restrictions ruled out in-person gatherings.
Parents at the site, however, were creative. They knew to expect a different kind of Christmas, but they also knew a pandemic wouldn’t stop them from celebrating.
Fortunately, living in the age of technology, all things are possible. The families gathered for an online Mass, with several smaller virtual celebrations alongside.
“They participated with songs, prayer, readings and reflection on the Word,” describes Maribel, site director.
The parents wanted to spread their joy to others. They made “solidarity baskets”, chock full of essential items that their most vulnerable neighbours, including non-sponsored children, needed most. At the same time, they cooked and packed up take-home “solidarity suppers” for the families to eat at home.
The local Chalice family circles also ensured all their members received a staple food package with everything need for a traditional Peruvian Christmas dinner.
A staple treat in Latin America, panettone bread is often eaten at Christmas time in Peru. Site staff bought more than 100 loaves to hand out to mothers new to sponsorship, volunteers and support staff.
“We want to express our deep gratitude to you and to the entire Chalice family,” writes Maribel, “since with your support the celebration of faith, hope and actions of sharing solidarity that our families had become a reality.”