by Ashley Henderson
The Kenedi Foundation has a ministry that is based out of Vila Kenedi, our nursing home. Monday through Friday a drive takes thirty to forty meals around Korce to individuals and families that are in need of a hot meal due to poor financial, physical, or mental condition. The meals vary depending on what supplies are bought that week but usually consist of meat, fruit, vegetables, and one other item.
On this particularly warm January day, I joined the driver, Erion Stoceni (pictured below with his family) on his route and recorded my observations to give you all a glimpse of what this ministry is like and the effect it has on the community. Due to identity protection concerns, there are no photos of the recipients of the meals.
The total route took a little over an hour and each delivery looked almost the same as the last. We opened the car doors and walked up the stairs to the apartment. Erion S would knock on the front door and walk in without waiting for a response because the recipients were older and slow-moving. One woman was missing a leg and was unable to get to the door at all.
Each visit was brief yet friendly. It was necessary to move quickly to keep the food warm and to get every person their meal during lunchtime. Many of them would offer Erion and I candy or ask us to stay for a coffee in a very Albanian fashion. We would politely decline, reminding them there were also houses to visit.
In addition to delivering food, Erion S asks each person how they are doing and if they are better than yesterday. One man has a problem with his eye and needs an eye drop every day. One of the women we visited needed some bedding put away in a high cabinet. Another needed something taken down from a shelf. Erion helped with all of these things and does small things like these on his visits.
Most of the cases were older people living alone with no family to care for them. The family either lived far away or didn’t care enough to visit or help. The oldest man we visited was ninety-four. He is a veteran so Erion greeted him with a salute. I stayed in the car for one of the visits because the man was very sick and Erion wasn’t sure if he would find him dead or alive.
The final house we visited was the hardest one to bear. The man lived alone in a small, dirty apartment. The windows were ajar and there was a hole in the exterior wall. The stove was burning but it was the same temperature in the house as it was outside. The Foundation brought him a stove a few years ago because he was burning the fire in the middle of the room and ruining his ceiling and walls. Last week a bed was delivered to him but he refuses to use it; he sleeps on a pile of rugs at the front of the room.
The place felt even smaller than it was because it was scattered with piles of garbage and a random collection of trash and things. The little floor that could be seen was dirty and cracked. The only light in the place came from the ajar windows and the dim glow of the fire. The Foundation has done as much as we can to help but he doesn’t always use the materials that we bring him. All we can do is keep helping and praying that he will use them correctly.
I asked Erion if it is hard to do this job every single day. He said, “Yes it is hard to see them alone every day with no one to care for them. It is difficult to see their sickness or injuries. I never know what I am going to find when I enter their house. It does, however, feel better to know that we are helping them by giving them a hot meal and checking on them. There is always more to do because there are so many with needs and so many needs to take care of.”
This is a necessary ministry because it takes care of so many individuals and families. There will always be the poor and the widows and we are called to care for them. (1 Timothy 5:3-16) The need is great and the call to help is great. If you would like to answer the call and help us care for the needy please consider giving. Under Category & Funds select Kenedi Center. Thank you and God bless.