“Thanks God there is a charitable refectory, says Petro. – I come here every day, eat myself and take lunch home for two sons, daughter and my wife. We live in Ivano-Frankivsk, don’t have relatives and a steady job. Each time we have to think where to get money for food, I don’t even mention problems with clothes and shoes.
Because my wife is alcohol addict our family is registered by service for children and considered as anti-social; kids go to specialized school-kindergarten. I do my best to supply children with all necessary things in order to preserve parental rights. Thanks to Caritas we have tasty food prepared by caring hands of cooks every day.”
We interviewed Natalia Kozakevych about recent repair works in charitable refectory, other acting projects and future plans. She is executive director of Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk of the UGCC.
- Natalia, please, tell about acting projects of Caritas in Ivano-Frankivsk.
Our Caritas operates for 22 years. Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk of the UGCC was founded in 1992 with charitable refectory and humanitarian aid distribution point. Nowadays it implements many projects:
– Charitable refectory
– Home care for isolated severely ill seniors
– Training on care and nurturance of the ill for their relatives and caregivers
– Help for large families, children and youth who found themselves in complicated life circumstances
– Care for disabled youth
– Work with labor migrants’ children
– Preventing human trafficking and assistance to its victims
– Help in case of emergency situations
– Providing humanitarian aid
– Different charitable initiatives etc
- For whom and how long has charitable refectory been working?
Charitable refectory is a base point of Caritas activity in Ivano-Frankivsk. It is 22 years old. It is a unique place in the city where needful people of Ivano-Frankivsk can get hot meal every day. 120-150 people in need get food on a daily basis here.
The work of refectories is aimed at providing one-time hot meals for representatives of poverty-stricken citizens (isolated seniors, disabled individuals, homeless people, large and poor families).
Objectives being implemented by means of refectories’ activity: а) rendering social and household services in form of set meal for poverty-stricken individuals on a daily basis; b) supplying project clients in crisis situation with clothes and shoes; в) providing information and counseling services and redirecting of such people to social services of Ivano-Frankivsk.
- You have a refectory renovated recently. Where did you get money for it and how long have the repair works lasted? Did it become an opportunity to enlarge the scope of activity?
Well, recently we have arranged general repair work of food unit. Renovation of the kitchen couldn’t be postponed, because sanitation station gave order to shut it down twice. Repair work wasn’t done for 20 years, but the facility was being actively used. Since now conditions of the refectory have been significantly improved; repair work was done and new equipment was bought.
New refectory was blessed by Metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk Volodymyr Vijtyshyn. Together with Caritas clients His Grace Vladyka held the official opening ceremony.
After renovation work that was done we hope to repair a hall where people eat and a front of the building. For this reason we are also looking for benefactors. In total 200 thousand UAH was spent for the repair work.
Fr. Volodymyr Chorniy, director of local Caritas, joins our talk:
- God allows trouble to happen, but he also sends us people that can help to cope with it. Oleksandr Schevchenko, a local entrepreneur, is a person who gave his helping hand to 150 clients of charitable refectory of Caritas Ivano-Frankivsk UGCH. With his support we launched general repair work in kitchen premises, and dish washing facility. This money helped us to change canalization, electricity and heating systems.
Mercy of Mr. Oleksandr is a confirmation of his active civic position, social responsibility in front of isolated, ill and needful people of our city. It would be great to have more such kind of friends for Caritas, because there is an enormous demand for it!
- Who are the clients of charitable refectory?
Each person who comes to the refectory has his/her individual story, sad and sometimes tragic. For the majority of people it is a unique opportunity to eat warm meal, communicate, feel comfortable, and get warm in frosts. Others come here because scanty earnest doesn’t afford them to feed a family, and daily charitable meal is a significant support. Local authorities and partner organizations send these people to us. Great number of them is our long-term clients, whom we know well and try to help in many ways.
Meet one of our clients (We approach woman, 45-50 years old, dressed in modest clothes, with deeply sad eyes, but very amicable manners)
“For more than ten years I come to Caritas charitable refectory,” says Mrs. Natalia. “My husband often got drunk. In such condition he raised a stink, injured me and our children physically and psychologically. Once I felt sick and tired of it and filed for divorce. But this decision didn’t solve my problem because we still lived in the same flat. Three years after the divorce my ex-husband got into trouble and now he is handicapped who needs constant care.
This is how I get by – take care of my husband and bring up four children. Without subsidies it is difficult to feed the family and give kids education. I wouldn’t know what to do if there were no support from Caritas. Every day I take charitable lunch home. I can also obtain humanitarian aid in form of clothes and shoes when required.”