Moscow, February 22, 2015
On February 17, 2015, the second visit of staff workers of the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Ministry to the Lugansk Diocese came to an end, reports Patriarchia.ru. 3,500 food hampers were purchased with Church funds and handed over to the needy. The total weight of the humanitarian aid was 16 tons.
On February 15 delivery of food hampers was organized at the Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen in the Yubileiny village (a suburb of Lugansk). Before the beginning of the military operations Yubileiny had 12,000 residents but today there are only 4-5 thousand residents. Within one day workers of the Synodal Department together with the church rector, Priest Gennady Kravchuk, and the parishioners, delivered 650 food hampers to local residents.
“As was the case with our first visit late in December 2014, we saw there very many people who were in need of basic things: food, means of hygiene, medicines… Many of them, not concealing their tears, thanked us for the aid which, according to them, they had received for the first time since the beginning of the conflict,” said Alexei Shashkov, a staff worker of the Synodal Department for Charity.
He has also reported that a charity dining-room was arranged at the Church of Sts. Constantine and Helen where 350-400 people receive food daily.
The Shakhtinsk Diocese’s Department for Social Ministry took part in purchase and delivery of the aid. The total sum of 3,500 food hampers was 1 347,500 rubles. Each hamper contained flour, rice, tinned fish and meat, pasta, vegetable oil, condensed milk, green peas and tea.
The larger part of the hampers was handed over to 20 Lugansk churches: the food was distributed among 2,500 particularly needy parishioners according to a pre-arranged list.
The Church representatives also visited families with gravely ill people as well as families with many children and rendered aid to them. “Some of them are living in terrible conditions. For example, a family of 17 people is cooped up in a two-room apartment,” A. Shashkov related.
The Synodal Department for Charity and Social Ministry intends to continue delivering humanitarian aid to the Lugansk and Donetsk Dioceses. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill has also instructed churches throughout Russia to announce at services the collection of monetary donations for the people of Donbass and refugees from the region currently sheltered in Russia.