Quietly and politely they form a line in the hot sun outside the Socio-Medical Intercommunity Dispensary in the poor Beirut neighborhood of Nabaa. Some are elderly and live alone. Others have families to feed. All have put aside any embarrassment in accepting a handout, in order to eat.
The dispensary has been run by the Assembly of Female Religious Congregations since 1973. It was originally founded in 1968 by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Mary to serve those in need.
As Lebanon’s economy worsened, the dispensary expanded its medical and social mission to the needy to include the distribution of hot meals in 2017, serving 250 portions per day. Now, as Lebanon teeters near economic collapse, the program has reached 1,200 portions a day.