Rome Newsroom, Feb 17, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- A decision by the authorities in Belarus has left a Catholic charity unable to pursue an initiative aimed at helping poor families.

Caritas Minsk planned to help around 700 people through its spring campaign by delivering chickens, piglets, and fruit tree saplings to low-income and single-parent families, in addition to providing food for the homeless.

“Every donation that comes in must be registered with the Department for Humanitarian Activities under the President of the Republic of Belarus,” Fr. Alexander Ulas, a priest in the capital, Minsk, told CNA.

“This year the Department for Humanitarian Activities under the President of Belarus has not registered the funds for these activities — so Caritas will not be able to use these funds. The reason for the refusal of registration is unknown. Caritas has not received any additional explanations. The president just wants it that way.”

Ulas serves as the director of Catholic.by, the news website of the Belarusian bishops’ conference. He said that the Belarusian authorities’ failure to register the donations within the government’s humanitarian department will prevent the distribution of the charitable items to those in need.

Caritas has been serving the poor and marginalized in Belarus since the early 1990s. The charity runs orphanages, soup kitchens, assistance to the imprisoned, and care for the elderly and the disabled.

In addition to these efforts, Caritas Belarus has worked to improve the health of people who still endure the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, according to its website.

The Minsk office of Caritas Belarus first announced on Facebook that the government authorities had not registered the funds intended to aid the poor.

“We do not give up hope for the best and continue to work. We thank everyone who supports us and our projects,” the post said.

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