A Jesuit Initiative of Father Gabriel Khairallah, SJ

The Cercle de Jeunesse Catholique (CJC) is a Jesuit initiative run by Father Gabriel Khairallah, SJ, a priest of the Society of Jesus in Lebanon.  The project has been going nonstop since 2019, and is increasingly in demand even though funding is a major challenge.  A group of friends reached out to the Jesuit Conference and Magis Americas to help fundraise for the Center’s programs in Lebanon which offer clothing, hot meals and support services to communities facing immense needs.  We invite you to be a part of these efforts by making a contribution today.

Lebanon: A Nation in Crisis

Living conditions in Lebanon have been gravely affected by the economic and financial crises in Lebanon over the past several years, the challenges were accelerated by the massive explosion of the port in the summer of 2020.

The purchasing power of the Lebanese, and their ability to provide for their daily needs, has been decimated due the control and the restrictions placed on currency in banks due to the liquidity crisis of the central bank.  Since the port explosion in 2020, Lebanese currency has been losing value with the most current loss valued at 91%. The unemployment rate increased from 11% in 2019 to 45% today, while the minimum wage decreased from $400 in 2019 to less than $30. Meanwhile, prices have tripled and quadrupled and hyperinflation is a daily reality of the Lebanese these days.

Eighty percent of the Lebanese live below the poverty line. The government places daily withdrawal limits on banking transactions. The living conditions are harsh–the Lebanese receive just a few hours of electricity and potable water is frequently unavailable.

This deterioration was sudden and the consequences immeasurable. No corrective steps or reforms have been made yet. The country is now at the bottom of the worldwide poverty levels with no relief in sight.  The middle class of Lebanon has fallen into poverty, and projects like CJC are helping but we need your help.

Please watch the documentary below from Deutsche Welle, a DW Documentary featuring Father Gabriel and his work in Lebanon, donate and share this page with a friend.  Thank you!

Donate to support Cercle de Jeunesse Catholique (CJC)

The Projects and Needs of CJC in Lebanon

Since the beginning of the major economic crisis CJC, a social organization founded and directed by Jesuits, mobilized resources to provide basic support to the Lebanese people. Many who receive services are able to identify as “the New Poor,” the former middle class who stood comfortably on their feet but now are too ashamed to ask for help. CJC is also able to support the elderly and isolated living alone. This grass-roots organization keeps a pulse on the ever changing needs and responds swiftly to the community’s challenges. CJC provides support, financial and otherwise, from assistance through private donations from Lebanon and from abroad, through a solid network of parishioners of the Jesuit Parish of St. Joseph and from a wide range of donors.

Currently, CJC responds to the crisis in the following ways:

Food Crates

CJC Food Donation

Since November 2019, the CJC has been collecting food and hygiene articles to distribute to the vulnerable who are identified by a network of parishioners and local organizations. Through the mobilization of these resources and their strong coordination efforts, CJC currently assures the distribution of 250-300 food boxes weekly.

Recently, another branch of the CJC was launched in Zahlé, a large city in the Bekaa valley assuring the distribution of 100-150 food boxes and hygiene products weekly.

Warm Meals

In addition to the distribution of food and hygienic products, the CJC has set up a daily distribution and delivery of warm meals for people who are destitute and for the elderly, mostly in Beirut. The dishes are cooked by volunteers, some devoted to the Jesuits of the St. Joseph Parish, who have been dedicated to this task for over two years. Approximately 250 plates full of meals are distributed daily.

New Project in Zahlé

The Maronite Diocese of Zahlé provided CJC with an equipped kitchen to help cook for those in most need in the region. Social organizations have identified 200 elderly people who are living alone without any assistance and who risk being deprived of daily meals. The CJC began cooking meals for these individuals. A cook and an aide as well as several volunteers have been mobilized to deliver these nourishing meals four times per week.

This new operation requires funds to pay for the cook and assistance, food ingredients, and the gas necessary for transport and delivery of meals for survival.

Medical Dispensary

Khairallah CJC Dispensary

The CJC has also created a medical dispensary and outpatient clinic to respond to the medical needs of the vulnerable in the community. Due to increased unemployment, and prohibitive costs of private medical care, more and more people in Lebanon have tremendous difficulty tending to their basic health needs.

The volunteer specialists in the clinic include endocrinologists, neurologists, dermatologists, cardiologists, orthopedists and others.

On average, seven patients are seen daily Monday through Friday and two Saturdays per month. Lab work is done free of charge and medications are also distributed free of charge and according to well-defined guidelines requiring a prescription and a medical follow-up of the patient.

Donate to help support the CJC today!

Aid for Hospital Expenses

Currently the CJC is solicited by many individuals who are facing high hospital costs and need help covering expenses due to the failing, and often non-existent, services in public hospitals as well as the high prices of private hospitals. CJC tries to cover part of the total hospitalization bills within, the limits of their means, and by selecting the most urgent cases.

Distribution of Clothes and Blankets

This past winter the CJC began another new initiative to sort and distribute clothes and blankets for the most destitute and vulnerable.

The distribution was carried out principally in the region of the Bekaa valley, where the cold is harsh in winter and exacerbated by the extremely high cost of diesel. About 500 blankets were distributed to the vulnerable, the elderly, and the children during this last winter.

Father Gabriel CJC

Creating Work for Volunteers

Circle of Catholic Youth CJC Lebanon
Cercle de jeunesse Catholique

It has been increasingly difficult for volunteers to pay for their own transportation and offer their time to CJC. In response, the organization began an effort to provide a nominal basic income for volunteers, which is about half of the national minimum wage salary in Lebanon to full-time volunteers. This helps the CJC in recruiting, training and retaining their volunteers and contributes to the overall goal of creating jobs and generating income, even at this small, symbolic level.

All of these projects have been implemented because of the generosity of the donors from Lebanon and in the west, most particularly in France and the United States. Donations allow CJC to continue to respond to the needs of the vast needs and to provide resources so the Lebanese can survive in these difficult times.

How you can help

Please keep the people of Lebanon in your prayers as you offer your daily Jesuit reflections and consider making a very generous gift to Magis Americas to help support the CJC and to provide hope for the Lebanese parishioners of Saint Joseph’s parish and the community they serve.