Providing fresh pastry and chocolate milk for every refugees on the Croatian border has become something Caritas Serbia is known for. Caritas has made a deal with an old bakery from communist Yugoslavia in the town of Sid that has capacities to make 2,000 breakfasts every morning.
According to Petar Dujic from Caritas, the bakery would make it during the night and Caritas volunteers would then come distribute it early morning. “We tried to change the menu quite often so they had a cheese pie one day, and another day with potato etc.”
This way, a total of 20,150 breakfasts has been distributed in the past month and a half only. Those who were not registered and thus not entitled to food were getting vouchers for local supermarket. Caritas’ assistance is based on the current needs, guidelines from the Serbian government as well as in coordination with other humanitarian organisations.
Therefore, when the Embassy started supporting them in December 2015, Caritas was listening to the needs of refugees and migrants varying from clothing and food to hygiene and chemical products for big washing machines in the reception centres on the Croatian border. After the closure of the Balkan route on March 8, 2016, Caritas had to shift its aid to Krnjaca reception center in Belgrade since there were only some 30-50 people in the reception centers on the border with Croatia. But they soon got back to the centers on the Croatian border.
Caritas is especially proud to their great volunteers. Around 45 of them were in some way involved in the process. “Since some of them are working with food, they have all passed sanitary examinations,” Petar added.
When asked how it feels to be helping those in need every day, Petar admits it is very rewarding but they are used to it and thus not really aware of it all the time. “You have no idea how many things you have done until you sit down to count,” says he.
Caritas Serbia was established in 1995 to provide care and support to the vast number of people exiled from their homes and the large number of refugees arriving as a result of the wars in the Balkans.