Restoring faith in humanity

It was another day of distributing food and hygiene parcels at the supermarket and all of Care by CLES members were divided into teams of packing, data checking, distribution and delivery.

The list of names had reached its maximum allotted numbers, and as it was another difficult month for Lebanese citizens, CLES’s management decided to double the efforts and add as many families as the donations and logistics allowed.

With COVID-19 measures in place, the distribution of parcels took three days of work, as thousands of families were coming every day to sign and receive supplies of food and hygiene that would last them for at least 8 weeks. With all the hustle and bustle of the day, Fadi, a project coordinator at Care By CLES, recognized a familiar face of an old lady that stood calmly and hesitantly outside the door of the warehouse.

Fadi felt it was time to talk to the lady as her name was not on the pre-vetted and registered list of names. She was reluctant to talk, but warmed up to the kind atmosphere and said her name was Souad N., a 67-year-old retired teacher with severe health issues who lives alone and has no source of income. Souad heard about CLES’s humanitarian initiative from a neighbor and for all the three days of distribution, she would walk 5 KM only to stand at the door, hoping for a miracle.

“ We didn’t have any extra parcels as we were running on overcapacity that month”, said Fadi, “ so I thought, I will do whatever it takes to help”. With the support of the project manager, Fadi was able to get Souad a voucher that would allow her to shop for her needs with dignity and pride. For a second, COVID-19 was put on hold as Souad couldn’t help herself from hugging Fadi like a mother would a child.

Souad browsed the large supermarket and chose all her needs with satisfaction and joy. CLES provided her with transportation back to her place and as she left, all the volunteers of CLES stood respectfully and waved her goodbye.

“We work for moments like that” said Fadi, “Because Care is not only in the name of the initiative, it is in the DNA of CLES, which has been helping children for 20 years, long before the economic crisis, coronavirus pandemic, and the Beirut explosion.”

CLES was founded in 1999 by Mrs. Carmen Chahine Debbane. It provides free individualized assistance to children between the ages of 3 and 12 facing specific learning difficulties at school.