Greece
Caritas Hellas – Caritas Greece

Founded in 1976 by the Catholic Bishops in Greece, Caritas Hellas (Caritas Greece) has a mission to promote and safeguard human dignity through social support services to migrants and refugees, advocate on behalf of the poor and needy and provide humanitarian aid when natural disasters or other types of emergency situations occur.

Caritas Hellas has an extensive range of programmes that include offering nourishment and expert social support services to a rapidly growing population of refugees and immigrants, young people in need, the elderly and needy families. On a daily basis, the service includes the distribution of food, clothes, education, counseling and psychological support to 300 people, including 80 children. In addition, Caritas Hellas also has a prison-visiting programme that offers ethical support and facilitates links with families.

Overseas, Caritas Hellas is active in the research into humanitarian issues and has played a key role in emergency relief and rehabilitation work during and after a disaster. In 2010, in response to the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti, Caritas Hellas provided financial help by sending money to Caritas Internationalis as contribution to the confederation programmes for the affected people in Haiti.

In Greece, during the various emergencies that had occurred, mainly due to earthquakes and fires, Caritas Hellas provided food, clothing, tents, caravans, water, personal hygiene items, fire truck, tools for cleaning the burnt areas and psychosocial support to those who had been affected. Finally, in response to the global economic financial crisis, in 2013 Caritas Hellas, in collaboration with Caritas Europe, implemented project “Elpis” to reduce the impact of the crisis on the poor and socially excluded in Greece. The programme aims to help fight poverty by providing monthly distribution of food assistance to 230 poor and vulnerable families.

Since 1987, the official headquarters of Caritas Hellas has been in Athens and is supported by 10 local Caritas regional offices. These offices are staffed by approximately 8 employees in total and nearly 350 volunteers, who are described by Caritas Hellas as “the soul of Caritas”. Without their fidelity and commitment, the programmes outlined above would cease to exist. The Board of Caritas Hellas is made up by the permanent representatives of the Catholic ecclesiastical Provinces of Greece: Athens, Syros, Crete, Thessaloniki, Corfu, Naxos-Tinos, Rhodes Exarchate, Armenian Catholic Exarchate, and Exarchate of Catholics of Byzantine rite (“Divine Providence”).

Caritas Hellas is a member of Caritas Europe and Caritas Internationalis and actively partners with the confederation’s 160-plus Catholic organisations around the world to be powerful purveyors in reducing poverty and campaigning for social justice.

Caritas Updates from Greece

  • As the crisis in Greece worsens, Caritas helps Athens’ immigrants

As the crisis in Greece worsens, Caritas helps Athens’ immigrants

  • 17 February 2012

Caritas Greece is working hard to help people who are suffering from the country’s financial difficulties. At a refugee centre for immigrants living in and near Athens, Caritas serves 300 meals a day, offers Greek and English lessons, provides vaccinations for children, and gives out relief kits with clothes, blankets and baby milk.