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Easter charity: Caritas helped the needy to meet holiday with dignity

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The day of the Resurrection of Christ or Easter is one of the largest Ukrainian holidays symbolizing the victory of life over death, good over evil, love over hatred and spring warmth over cold winter. On this day, family gathers around the table after traditional blessing of Easter baskets. However, not every family has such an opportunity, especially in these difficult times Ukraine is going through. The workers of Caritas are always ready to help those in need. Thus, before Easter traditional event “Easter Basket” is held. Funds collected during the action from caring people, are used by employees and volunteers to fill the baskets with food. Then they bring them to the dwellings of people in need – to orphanages, hospitals and anywhere where people need warmth, kindness, support and a little miracle.

On April 15 – Holy Saturday, the patriarch of UGCC Sviatoslav blessed Easter baskets for IDPs at the Patriarchal Cathedral. Thus, the action initiated by Caritas Kyiv Foundation for one hundred families with disabled members, large families, IDPs and single elderly was supported by the head of the Church and the people in need received special gifts for the holiday. “It is a separate action of Caritas Kyiv to help these people to have Easter basket, solemnly consecrate it with everybody and start celebrating Easter. During our communication we felt how often they feel alone, abandoned and worthless, “- said patriarch Sviatoslav.

However, Caritas Kyiv Easter event had much greater scale: “This year we prepared over 550 Easter baskets for different categories of people: IDPs, families of ATO members, families in crisis, elderly people. My sincere thanks go to all who contributed and helped to perform this good act for Easter. I invite all of you to cooperate in the common process of creation of kindness. On behalf of all, I thank His Beatitude Sviatoslav for constant care for them. “- said Roman Syrotych, director of Caritas Kyiv.

In Lviv, through the support of concerned businessmen, eighty families and single people under the care of Charitable Foundation “Caritas Lviv UGCC” received Easter baskets. This year, three major companies combined their efforts for good cause: Auchan, «METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine» and SoftServe. Thanks to them, eighty families and single people acquired baskets with food. Fifty baskets came to teenagers attending the Youth Center and children from Caritas Lviv kindergarten. Besides, gifts for the holiday table were passed to the wards of the social project “Home Care” – program for the lonely elderly and seriously ill people, who are unable to leave the house because of old age or difficult illness. “Every year before the great church holidays we hope to prepare at least the simplest presents to our wards, to make a feast for them a little warmer. Each year, this task seems unreal, but fortunately there are bright people with good will to help. Thanks to them, a miracle happens”, – said Iryna Starovetska, coordinator of the Home Care Project in Lviv.

Besides, more than three dozen large and poor families, and families of IDPs under care of Caritas Khmelnytsky got Easter gifts. The staff carefully collected food baskets for both adults and children could tastefully meet the biggest Christian feast.

Each client of the organization has his own story, needs an individual approach and special help. But all of them know one thing – go to Caritas if you need help. Many of them start to help other people too. For instance, Iryna met her wards here. She was a teacher of physical education in Pervomaysk, Luhansk region, but was forced to flee from shelling to Khmelnytsky, where she began to train young football players, among which were also her former students. The team not only learned to play skillfully, but also won the competition of Caritas football teams.

The happy smiles and best wishes, and even a souvenir photo were included in a small celebration on the eve of the feast. On this day, everyone who visited Caritas was greeted with warmth. “In every person lies a desire to be merciful and compassionate. We thank all people who sincerely helped us make this little holiday.”- said Father Ivan Dankevych, director of the fund.

In Ternopil “Easter Basket” is held for more than twenty years. 300 people received the traditional support from Caritas Ternopil this year. Baskets were filled with food necessary for the Easter dinner. “This campaign is made for the needy, wards under our care, – says the director of the Fund Father Andriy Marchuk, – we have many projects, and each focused on different categories of people. Among them are lonely elderly people and IDPs as well as children in difficult circumstances. As now it is a very common situation to leave children without attention while their parents work abroad. Child left to himself needs our support the most.”

80-year-old Evhenia lost her relatives and lives completely alone with a tiny pension. For her, Caritas is the only consolation and hope in life as here she always finds support and help. Thus, the Easter present was very pleasant for her. As well as for Bohdan – he is one of the 60 children attending the Children’s Center. He says that he receives from Caritas not only presents, but something more important – positive emotions.

During the month before the feast almost 130 Easter baskets were collected by workers of Caritas Odesa for lonely elderly. It became possible thanks to the support of benefactors, including company Wildix Odessa, that provided more than 100 kg of cereals for the event as well as “METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine”, that joined the action of filling baskets with food and placed boxes for collecting private donations in its store. It allowed to collect more than 6 000 UAH. All these deeds helped to make real the dreams of lonely elderly people about caring.

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