• Yafim (87) from Kiev is a Holocaust survivor and is blind. He is one of many to receive a food parcel | Photo: Christians for Israel
Support Food Parcels

Summer in Ukraine – Much-Needed Food Parcels

Koen Carlier - 28 July 2021

Also during the summer months, we in Ukraine earnestly continue in full to pack and distribute food parcels. These food parcels remain much needed. The main difference with the winter months is that during the summer it is more pleasant to pack and distribute the food parcels. Because the roads are not dangerous due to snow and ice, the Jewish elderly can collect their parcel more easily and for our fieldworkers it is easier to deliver them at home.

Food parcels
Every month we pack some 22,000 kilograms of food parcels in the towns of Vinnitsa, Kiev, Mariupol and Donetsk. Ultimately resulting in 2,000 food parcels weighing 11 kilograms each. During that month these food parcels are handed out to Jewish elderly. Because of the holidays we ask the young people to assist us in packing. Our own children enjoy helping too. Through the elderly programme large quantities of food parcels are handed out. Tikva Odessa is the Jewish orphanage in which Micheal Brodman is involved.

In the war zone of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, 500 food parcels are packed and handed out on a regular basis. We also add an encouraging text and a Psalm. The food stuffs are purchased locally.

Until the end of July we distribute the food parcels in groups of two. At the beginning of August, we empty the storage to refurbish the place and then we purchase new products. In September it is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year for which we already receive new requests.

“In the war zone of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine, 500 food parcels are packed and handed out on a regular basis”

Ninety-seven-year-old Rivla
Because of the handing out of the food parcels our team often has special encounters with Jewish elderly. Like our fieldworker Nataliyah, who visited the ninety-seven-year-old Rivla. She tells the following.

Today, when I was delivering food parcels, I met Rivla, an interesting woman with a very difficult life. Now she is 97 years old, but 80 years ago, at the outbreak of the Second World War she was forced to leave her home village and she went into hiding in neighbouring villages. The people were afraid to provide her shelter. Although she didn’t look like a Jewish girl many knew her family and they could have betrayed her. By a miracle she found Ukrainian documents, through which she could escape and stay alive.

What always strikes me at meetings like that, is the optimism of the people who have suffered so much in their lives. Rivla recently broke her leg in different places. She must stay at home and suffers a great deal of pain. Her son says that he has never heard her moaning, complaining or grumbling. Through years of suffering, she has developed a very strong character. Rivla has a family, daughters, grandchildren and a younger sister Tsillia who lives in Israel. Tsillia hid herself during the time she lived in Ukraine, because of her Jewish name and called herself Alexandria, until the day she made aliyah.

Rivla allowed me to take a picture of her and to bless her with the blessing from Numbers 6:24-26:  “‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’”

Nataliyah and Rivla | Photo: Christians for Israel


Grateful reactions

From different people we received grateful reactions for the food parcels we handed out.

Michael Brodman, manager of the orphanage Tikva Odessa
“In these difficult times receiving of food parcels for elderly Jewish people is much needed. It means much more to them than only food. They not only get the much-needed help, but also attention and care. Every day we receive grateful telephone calls from these people. They are very grateful to those who make this help possible.”

“We are very grateful for the enormous work you do to make us a little bit happier. What you do for us is a noble mission”

Larissa Lutovska, Tikva Odessa

Larissa noted the following reaction from a Jewish elderly.

“It is so nice for me to know that there are people who care for someone from their hearts. This support and care, attention and warmth that the synagogues and sponsors give us. It gives us the strength and the energy to conquer the difficulties of life and to carry on. Our pensions are very low and the prices are so high. The food parcel you bring us helps us to stay alive. It is a feast for us when you deliver our food parcel to us!

We are very grateful for the enormous work you do to make us a little bit happier. What you do for us is a noble mission.”

Rabbi Inna Markovich from Kiev.

“How can someone survive on a pension of € 76 per month? That is impossible! People have to chose between buying food, maintenance and rent of their apartments or buying medication. An impossible choice, especially at an old age, and moreover when you are a Holocaust survivor.”

The food parcels that Christians for Israel recently gave to the Jewish community of Kiev gave 500 Jewish elderly the privilege to go to bed and sleep with a filled stomach! Unfortunately, in Ukraine, one of the poorest European countries, many elderly, sick and needy people cannot afford to buy these basic necessities. Therefore, this support saves the lives of these people. They accept this help with tears in their eyes and words of gratitude. It is a noble and grateful thing to provide this kind of help.

Rabbi Mendel Cohen from Mariupol (Eastern Ukraine)

This year was a challenge for everyone, especially the elderly. The COVID-19 pandemic has induced an economic crisis and the prices of the most essential basic products have gone up in time. In the summer the situation is deteriorated by the weather conditions. Our clients usually are elderly people who suffer because of the heat. They have high blood pressure and need constant support and follow-up appointments. These people are lonely. Quite often something that looks quite normal to us, is an enormous challenge to them.

We try to support them in the most difficult moments of their lives and supply them with the basic necessities: food, attention, care and support. Our Jewish community is very grateful to Christians for Israel for all the help and support. Thanks to them we can make the most difficult years of our elderly easier and better.


Please support us to help!

Wouldn’t you like to contribute to the food parcel campaign in Ukraine as well? You can! One eleven-kilogram-food-parcel costs € 10,- or $ 11,-. How many food parcels will you support? Thank you very much for your support!

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Photo impression food parcels Ukraine | Photo: Christians for Israel

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