Some 1,400 packed lunches for the homeless every week at Seoul Cathedral

Starting 6 January, food has been handed out to the poor three times a week, thanks to the Archdiocese of Seoul and a division of the SK Group, a large Korean company. Card Yeom hopes the soup kitchen will lead to a hostel and a job placement service helping people reintegrate society.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – A group of Catholics who attend Myeongdong Cathedral set up a soup kitchen called ‘Myeongdong Babjib’ on 6 January this year. Since then, the group has served about 1,400 packed lunches a week, at 3 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The soup kitchen is the brainchild of the Archdiocese of Seoul, led by Card Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, Metropolitan Archbishop of Seoul, working with a sponsor, the Energy and Chemicals Division of the SK Group1, one of South Korea’s largest companies.

The volunteers involved in the project belong to the One Body One Spirit movement (OBOS), a group linked to the diocesan Caritas. Sometimes Card Yeom packs lunches himself and serves the poor and the homeless (picture 2).

“When Pope Francis visited Myeongdong cathedral in 2014, he blessed us to be the yeast of the gospel,” said OBOS executive director Fr Francis Jeong-hwan Kim. “I hope that the Myeongdong Babjib soup kitchen will be a small yeast that changes the Church and the world into a world of warm love”.

For Card Yeom, the soup kitchen is a response to Pope Francis' message for the 4th Day of the Poor, “Stretch forth your hand to the poor”.

“It is a call for all of us to commit ourselves to the care of the poor as one human family. The Myeongdong Babjib soup kitchen is the right place to reach out to those who live in the lowest places in the world and share our food so that no one is left hungry.”

The service is expected to be the first step towards showing greater concern for the poor and their situation.

Card Yeom hopes in fact to help the homeless with a hostel where they can wash, do their laundry, get help find a job, and reintegrate society.

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