Building up local resources to serve those in need in Serbia

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Building up local resources to serve those in need in Serbia

FRB’s Serbia-Smederevo program is producing more and more of the food it supplies to the elderly, internally displaced, unemployed, marginalized Roma populations, and children served by the program’s local partner, Serbian Red Cross. While increasing its long-term sustainability by producing meat, vegetables, fruit and grain on-site, the program employs able-bodied recipients in construction, animal husbandry, farming, and food production operations whenever possible.

Need for Red Cross assistance in Smederevo increased when U.S. Steel, which employed 60% of the population of 140,000, closed early in 2012. High unemployment has been exacerbated by water scarcity because the factory no longer supplies water to the area. However, the Red Cross is in the process of drilling two wells to ensure access to clean water for proper functioning of the soup kitchen, sanitation, animals, and irrigation.

A modern pig facility is under construction that is expected to supply 20 tons of top quality meat annually to serve the soup kitchens and school feeding programs. Serbian Air rounded up 63 sheep that had been wandering around the airport and gave them to the Red Cross’s sheep facility. Pig, sheep, and poultry operations are in production throughout the year, and two greenhouses continuously supply tomatoes lettuce, cucumbers, green beans, onions, spinach and peppers.

The program’s second wheat crop on 6 acres of land provided 36 tons of flour to the bakery. A new, 60-acre apple orchard now contains 1000 seedlings watered by drip irrigation. The first modest crop is expected this year (a couple of kilos per tree) but the orchard could eventually yield 25-30,000 kg annually. To the particular delight of the children, the apples will mostly be consumed fresh but also in juices and jellies.

Thanks to FRB supporters, the Red Cross now has the potential to offer greater food security and nutrition to the beneficiaries of its soup kitchen. While the need is great, it is currently delivering one nutritionally balanced meal per day to 1500 people in food relief efforts in the area (hopes to support 2000 soon) and two nutritionally balanced meals a day, five days a week, to over 60 pre-school children.

The Serbia-Smederevo program encompasses 1 community, 243 households, and 1500 individuals.

05/24/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment