Mexico City, Mexico, Jul 19, 2014 / 15:02 pm
For the third year in a row, the Archdiocese of Mexico City is hosting a voluntary disarmament program as part of a campaign to reduce violence in the Mexican capital.
Rosa Icela Rodriguez of Mexico City's Secretariat for Social Development said the program would not be possible without the assistance of local officials, the Defense ministry and the Church.
"We are very happy because society has responded positively to this call," she said.
The program is based at Mexico City's Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The public has until July 25 to turn in their weapons in exchange for cash, groceries, laptops and domestic appliances, the Archdiocese of Mexico City's news service reports. Children can also turn in their toy guns and receive other kinds of toys.
"We thank the officials (at the basilica) for hosting us these two weeks," Rodriguez said, referring to the basilica's rector, Monsignor Enrique Glennie Graue, and to its vice-rector, Father Pedro Tapia Rosete.
Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera has promoted the program throughout the Archdiocese of Mexico City.
Since its inception in December 2012, the program has collected more than 12,000 weapons--a 230 percent increase over previous efforts that did not involve the Church.