Internet and noodles, a Tainan parish priest’s "weapons" to help the needy
by Xin Yage
Fr. Lee has opened a small restaurant next to his church where employs immigrants and the unemployed. The proceeds from the sale of noodles, which he prepares himself, all goes to charity. Over time he also discovers the internet, thanks to which he sells his products online: "We have to keep up with the times. When customers come to us, they know that with a meal they also are also helping the needy."

Tainan (AsiaNews) - In order to help those most in need, a priest of Tainan has become a noodles chef not only in the small restaurant next to the church, but also online, The pastor of "Mary cause of our joy" (吾 乐 之 缘 圣母) parish in Tainan (台南市 玉井 区) has become famous throughout Taiwan for how he has put his talent to work for charity.

Father Lee (李 若望 神父) decided some time ago to a noodles restaurant open next to his parish, in where he works in the kitchen. His staff consists of new immigrants and people who can not find a job. In this way they have a regular salary and all profits after costs go to the poor of the parish or to the needy in the area.

Fr. Lee has also gone"digital". Some of the young people of the parish pointed out to him the emergence of sites that faciliate deals between suppliers and buyers that allow small businesses to reach customers in their own home, cutting costs. These sites have given rise to web initiatives such as "17 life" and "Gomaji" that allow "special deals for special buyers", just by coming to an agreement and using the website to buy and receive the product at home. Some important foundations have also come to the aid of the needy, through these very popular portals to help people in financial difficulty.

The priest has adapted to this new aid modalities: "We have to be in step with the times and try all everything to put in touch with those who can help those who need this help." The decision to open a noodles restaurant is not random: "As a child I was adopted. When I grew up I found out that my biological parents lived in Tainan and sold noodles". From this research into his own origins, which took place along with the discovery of his vocation to the priesthood, "the idea was born to cook spaghetti next to the parish church. I knew nothing about cooking, but then I learned little by little and thanks to 'help of my brother I started this type of activity. "

"When customers pay - he continues - they know they also contribute to a good cause. Unfortunately there are always people in need, and they are our brothers. I have had the opportunity to make visible the help that the Catholic Church offers to all those who really need it. It's not just my thing, it is our whole community that engages in this and takes care of those who ask for help. "

Since he had the idea of ​​using the internet and other means of communication to widen the initiative, several foundations have joined him in his mission: including the famous model and actress Lin Chi-ling (林志玲) who has used her immense fame as Taiwan's  top model to assist in this important mission. The latest example is eleven days ago, when Fr. Lee published an ad online calling on people to help needy people in the area. With a small donations of about 100 Taiwanese dollars (about 3 U.S. dollars) he was able to collect 31 thousand local dollars (1000 dollars) to donate to charity.