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  • Handing out of food parcels, December 2019 | Photo credit: Christians for Israel
Support Food Parcels

The holidays are over, but the hunger is not!

Koen Carlier - 4 February 2020

In December 2019 alone we were able to pack and hand out 3,611 food parcels. This was before, during and after Hanukkah. It was quite a thing to achieve this logistically, but we succeeded!

We also handed out food parcels in seven new towns for the first time. What a joy it was! “You have kept your promises” could be heard here and there. In fact, it does take some time to plan everything, but when we promise something, we usually live up to it. At the request of some small and some bigger Jewish communities we agreed to plan it this way and we received beautiful and grateful replies and photographs in return.

But together with the requests we were asked diplomatically: “Was this a one-off or will you come again this winter?” Indeed, we plan exactly that in the coming months. The food parcels, with ten kilos of food products are a ray of hope in these dark times for the elderly Jewish people and Holocaust survivors. We are fully engaged now in drawing up a plan of where we intend to deliver food parcels in the coming months (our winter campaign lasts until the end of April). We most certainly will go back to these seven new communities, and also to the other towns we have been visiting regularly for years!

“We received a food parcel at the end of December, but when will you come back?”

From time to time we sometimes hear people ask whether these food parcels are really necessary. That is an appropriate question, of course. But, after experiencing a working trip, that question is not asked anymore. It is not only about the physical need in the form of good food, but also about the fact that we can encourage and comfort people by visiting them with a food parcel. And that is so necessary in Ukraine!

 

Frida Pecherskaya (93): When we came in she smiled and said: “What a nice surprise on this commemoration day, I was just thinking of you.” “It’s hard to think of the past. I was in Bratslav getto first and then in the Pechora concentration camp. Many relatives died of starvation, cold and illness. But I survived. Look at my beautiful son. My granddaughter lives in Israel!”

 

On Monday January 27, 2020, it was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year exactly 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz. There were numerous commemorations in amongst others, Yad Vashem near Jerusalem and at the former extermination camp in Auschwitz. Numerous dignitaries from all over the world attended. “It should not be forgotten.”

That day we personally visited Holocaust survivors in four small groups, for which we invited others as well to accompany us. I set out with Bible teacher Andrei, who knew little of what we all do here. He had never before visited a Holocaust survivor.

Andrei and Hekker Moisei from Tulchin: “Please come in and have a cup of tea! Nobody told us you would come!” “I just watched the remembrance broadcast on Ukrainian tv, but I switched it off. Too hard to see the mass grave on TV.” My whole life I worked in the shoe factory opposite my house but it’s falling apart now! Jews of Tulchin were good shoemakers! Thanks for visiting me and the nice present!”

 

Disbelievingly he heard one story after the other from Jewish elderly people, who were still children at that time, about the hardship, hunger, cold, humiliation and beatings and how they survived all this. But also, often saw how their family, usually their mother or grandmother and grandfathers did not survive that hell.

Beyond comprehension was the story of how, in the town of Nemirov, the Nazis first forced the mothers and elderly to watch how their babies, children and grandchildren were buried alive (1,100 babies and children in total!). The next day they were shot and killed as well and dumped as garbage in mass graves. The memory remains, but for many it is difficult to talk about. The traumas and what is going on inside them, is inconceivable.

Also, under communist rule until 1991, when the Iron Curtain fell, you had better not tell what happened to you as a small child and how you survived that “hell”. Our visits were encouraging and comforting and everybody got a little present with a group photo of our field workers saying that we want to commemorate together with them and offer comfort to these precious people.

Still, most survivors have a good memory, because almost everywhere we heard the question: “We received a food parcel at the end of December, but when will you come back?”

Fortunately, this is a mild winter for Ukrainian standards. Every now and then there is some snow and it hasn’t been any colder than minus twelve degrees centigrade, too warm for this time of year. Because of this everything passes off much smoother than previous years when we regularly encountered disruption because of snow.

The mild winter of 2019-2020 in Ukraine | Photo credit: Christians for Israel

 

During the distribution of the food parcels we always say: “These food parcels were packed with care and given to you out of love!” People are reduced to silence here when they hear this…

Food parcels in storage for handing out | Photo credit: Christians for Israel

 

May the Jewish elderly and Holocaust survivors in distress count again on your support? All in all, we would like to hand out another 5,100 food parcels in the coming months. Will you help? A food parcel costs 10 euros. But we are grateful for every amount!

Friendship
The food parcels are regularly distributed among Holocaust survivors, poor families, Jewish refugees, children and the sick. A food parcel is more than a bag of food. It’s a sign of your friendship and your support, a testimony to our Jewish brothers and sisters that they are not alone.

Will you help?
The cost of one food parcel is 10 euros or 11 US $. For this amount we buy wholesale products. The parcels are packed by volunteers and distributed throughout Ukraine. Will you help with one or more food parcels? Your support is desperately needed!

1 food parcel costs 10 euros / 11 US $ and consists of:
1 kg of sugar
1 kg of rice
1 kg of grits
2 kg of pasta
1 liter of oil
1 kg of flour
500 gr of oatmeal
1 box of tea
250 ml of condensed milk
1 can of fish
1 box of cookies
1 bar of chocolate
200 gr of coffee
1 can of peas
1 can of corn

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