More Wheels, More Meals

Last winter, I drove with one of Vila Kenedi’s drivers, Erion Stoceni, during his food delivery route. After an hour of visiting twenty or so homes, Erion shared some thoughts with me about this ministry he was a part of. The first thing he said was he wished the church could do more, especially in the villages surrounding Korce. Today I am writing to tell you that Erion’s dream has been realized. The Meals On Wheels ministry has been expanded to reach four villages in the area: Kamenice, Pojan, Sheqeras, and Bulgarec. I spoke to each of the leaders overseeing this project in their respective villages to get a better idea of how the system works and how many families are being blessed. 

Each leader in the village cooks for the people in their own village and distributes the food two or three times a week. Similar to ‘Meals on Wheels’ in Korce, the elderly individuals chosen are in grueling situations; they are in bad health, live alone, financially struggling, or have no way to take care of themselves or their family. Between the four villages, more than thirty meals are cooked and distributed each week.

Sara Bori from Sheqeras is currently cooking for a woman in her late eighties that is suffering from dementia. She is incapable of cooking for herself and is in desperate need. God has provided the church plant in Sheqeras with everything they need to meet this woman’s needs. Dementia causes confusion and memory loss. Some days she knows who is bringing her food and why? Other days she is completely out of it and needs a gentle reminder. When she is of right mind, she is very grateful to Sara and the Sheqeras team for helping her.

Three churches are in the preparation stages for bringing the ‘Meals on Wheels’ program to their villages; Vlocisht, Plasa, and Kuc. In each active village, we have faith that God will continue to equip us to care for people as their needs arise.

A Much Needed Delivery

On January 27, 2021, after two months on the open sea, a forty-foot shipping container arrived at the Durres port from Detroit, Michigan. Kenedi Foundations receives many containers throughout the year from all over the world, but this one was different. It was filled with medical equipment that is absolutely essential to caring for people during this pandemic. Who do we have to thank for this donation? A new charity called Ignatian Way founded by Armando and Mary Jane Kurili.

Armando was born in Korce in the midst of Communism. He escaped to Greece in his early twenties with the intention of never returning to his hometown or even his country. Mary Jane came to Albania with CRU Missions in 1991. This trip sparked a passion for the Albanian community and started her on a journey that would eventually lead her back to Albania. When she returned to the states Mary Jane met Armando and they were married soon after.

Fast forward ten or so years and God called the Kurilis to minister to the large Albanian community in Detroit. And in 2018, God placed another call in Armando’s heart; it was time for him to return to Albania. Together, with a group of sixteen individuals, the couple traveled to Korce to facilitate VBS and ESL in the small village of Sheqeras. Since that trip, the Kurilis have returned to Albania a handful of times and the most recent was to distribute the contents of the container that they had spent months collecting and organizing.

The container held respirators, bi-paps, nebulizers, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, clothing, and miscellaneous items useful for ministry. These items were donated or bought with donated money which primarily came from individuals. The entire process required $8,000 and a year of fundraising and planning.

While visiting, the Kurilis met with the directors of the hospitals in Korce and Tirana, respectively. They contributed eleven respirators to Korce and fourteen to Tirane. Armando’s occupation is in the medical field; specifically in respiratory equipment design. He passed his knowledge to the medical team at each hospital and to the staff at Vila Kenedi, the home for the elderly.