The repercussions of the pandemic revealed social solidarity in many areas in Lebanon that is affected by the lockdown.
One of the social solidarity phenomena appeared in the southern city of Sidon (Saida) where unknown people in the city paid supermarket debts of families in need.
Group and/or individual initiatives have launched in various neighborhoods to tackle poverty and hunger in Sidon. Many families are said to be stranded after the closing down of institutions and stores to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
However, a new pattern of social solidarity began to take positive resonances away from advertising and the media. This social solidarity is presented by unidentified people paying the accumulated expenses of the people in need in Sidon’s supermarkets.
These payments of supermarket debts are being done without the knowledge of the people involved, especially in small neighborhoods where supermarket debts are common.
A supermarket owner recounted that his customers with debts are standing in disbelief when he reveals to them that they have zero debts.
“The phenomenon has been repeated more than once in the past few months,” says Hind Al-Naqouzi, an owner of a small local supermarket. “It started with the 17 October Revolution when families in Saida started to suffer from extreme poverty as a result of the collapse.”
As if the economic and financial collapse was not hard enough on Lebanon’s communities, the coronavirus has basically ‘slain the dragon.’ The majority of people can no longer pay their monthly dues, let alone their debts.
Hind explained that “one of the people with a considerable fortune wanted to help in a different way than charitable initiatives. The person went to her shop and asked about the poorest families with the most debts, and paid off their debts, without introducing himself.
Hind confirmed that when the families were informed that their debt has been covered, their joy was indescribable.
Another established businessman in Sidon from the Al-Naddaf family provided financial aid to each family in the region. He gifted these families 200,000 LBP each in order to support their living, without any media hype.
While the two initiatives echoed throughout the region and received positive gratitude, the donors are hoping to generalize these initiatives to the rest of Sidon’s neighborhoods.
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