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Exhibition seeks support for church-run kitchen for poor Koreans

Myeongdong Bajib has been offering free meals to hundreds of poor and hungry people since January

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: August 27, 2021 06:21 AM GMT

Updated: August 27, 2021 06:34 AM GMT

Exhibition seeks support for church-run kitchen for poor Koreans

The One Body, One Spirit movement is holding an exhibition in South Korean capital Seoul to seek sponsors and volunteers for a church-run program feeding hundreds of poor and hungry people each week. (Photo: OBOS)

A Catholic group in South Korea has started a month-long exhibition at Myeongdong Cathedral in capital Seoul to seek sponsors and volunteers for a church-run soup kitchen that provides free food for hundreds of poor and hungry.

The One Body, One Spirit (OBOS) movement is holding the exhibition with the theme “This is Myeongdong Bajib where love blooms” on the premises of the cathedral, which also accommodates OBOS headquarters, reports Catholic Times.

The exhibition will run until the end of this year and is open to all every day except holidays.

It features a structure in the form of a tent set up for outdoor dining due to Covid-19. It showcases the poor and marginalized people who live together in Myeongdong Bajib as well as the clergy, religious, volunteers and supporters present with them in their own colors to draw the love of God.

The exhibits use recycled boxes used for food delivery at Myeongdong Bajib, which symbolizes the hope that those who have been hurt and rendered marginalized due to difficulties in their lives will return to a better, new life one day, organizers say.

At the exhibition hall, anyone can participate in a sponsorship program called Jesus on The Street by donating 35,000 won (US$30), which can provide free meals to 10 needy persons. Anyone can also join volunteers during free food distributions on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

It is a call for all of us to commit ourselves to the care of the poor as one human family

The exhibition also offers guidance and advice to visitors on life sharing such as organ donations.     

OBOS is a faith-based organization that believes in hope, life and love. Inspired by the 44th International Eucharistic Congress in Seoul in 1989 and Catholic social teaching, it works to make a peaceful world according to the spirit of the Eucharistic sacrament.

Since the establishment of the organization by the late Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan in 1988, OBOS, as part of Caritas Seoul, has been working in many fields such as international development cooperation, domestic social welfare and life-sharing movements.

Myeongdong Bajib started in January with support from OBOS and financial assistance from the Energy and Chemicals Division of SK Group, the third-largest conglomerate in South Korea.

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Since then it has been offering some 1,400 free packed lunches each week.

From May, the kitchen has been serving cooked meals instead of packed lunches, according to church sources. On average 500-600 homeless people visit the kitchen to get free meals on three days each week.

Cardinal Andrew Yeom Soo-jung of Seoul inaugurated the kitchen and urged Korean Catholics to open their hearts to support distressed people.

“It is a call for all of us to commit ourselves to the care of the poor as one human family. The 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. I hope that the house will become a place that offers real help and service to those in need,” he said.

In June, Seoul Archdiocese in collaboration with the OBOS set up Raphael Nanum Homeless Clinic within Myeongdong Bajib to offer free medical services to sick, poor and homeless people.   

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