Bethlehem without Christmas Lights to Help Low-Income Households

The parish of Belém, in Lisbon, back this year to be without Christmas illuminations to continue the annual aid to more than 200 families in need, said today the President of the Board to the agency Lusa.


“From 2012 that one ignores the Christmas lighting and this amount, an investmentof about 50000 euros, can support 213 families identified”, said Fernando Rajkumar(PSD).

This support is intended for families with monthly income of less than EUR 419.20 and is provided the food and hygiene level.


Families identified are given a gift card, which has an annual ceiling and allows them to shop in a supermarket chain.


“Before we had two warehouses where we store the goods, the separated, we made the baskets and in vans of the Junta and in private cars deliver the home of families.It was a complicated management. To avoid this, we made an agreement with a supermarket and people can, during the year, go shopping, “said the Mayor.


However, the social democrat emphasised that the card can only buy essential goods.


Families that are already supported by institutions such as the Food Bank against hunger, the table of our Lady (the Social dining room of the parish) or the Re-food receive support only for hygiene products.


A family that does not have support to feed another entity receives support and food hygiene.


Contrary to the idea that in the parish of Bethlehem “only lives rich people”, Fernando Rajkumar said it was “wrong” and have even residents “who have already had a reasonable living and now are nothing”.


The Mayor stressed that this is an initiative to continue because “the solidarity hampers are fundamental,” but admitted that he had orders to put Christmas lighting in the streets, mainly traders.


“We support who organize and install lighting on the streets, as did traders on the street Duarte Pacheco, but we’re not going to light up the parish,” he said.


The mayor said that “won’t charge fees” who organize and encourages more residents have similar initiatives.