I began helping the Donbass in 2014, when I and my friends, thanks to you, my readers and online contacts, brought lots of food to Pervomaysk in a big truck. In 2014, the city was in a catastrophic condition, and it literally suffered from hunger. It was cut off from the rest of LPR and found itself in a humanitarian blockade, where even OSCE wouldn’t go. People lived in cellars and bomb shelters, shops were closed, and there was nothing to eat. Only communal cafeterias worked, which fed people for free. We kept returning until the summer of ’15, about once every three weeks, with food for these cafeterias. Then the situation improved, the cafeterias were closed, so we stopped our visits. Although in my view such cafeterias are still needed nearly everywhere in the LPR. For the needy. There are many single elderly, multi-child families, and simply needy individuals who are trying to ends meet and suffer from poor nutrition.
But that’s not what this post is about.
It’s about how we started with delivering food for lots of people. I never imagined I’d become an aid coordinating center of sorts.
I couldn’t wrap my head around it even during our first visit in a car loaded with food and clothes. I felt this was a one-time action, but people continued to turn to me and that’s how it came to be. The Little Hirosima blog helped, even though I created it for something entirely different. With time, our aid became targeted–we help those who are in poor straits, who can’t cope on their own.
My email daily sees stories of people who need aid. Many get one-time or recurrent food aid. We help some on a regular basis. For others we have dedicated collections, because what they need is expensive. Medications, treatment, personal care supplies, or a very difficult situation that has to be overcome. There’s a legion of people who suffered from the war. And who hasn’t suffered? War always hurts the most those who are the least protected–the disabled, retirees, multi-child families, etc.
It’s always a complex choice. A moral choice. Readers sometimes are at a loss–whom to help? A beautiful girl, a little boy, or an elderly dying woman? Someone disabled, a young multi-child family of a former POW, or a woman with terminal cancer? It’s hard.
You know, sometimes people send 500 rubles, but the expenditures are huge and I get really upset. Or, for example, after our first post about Vika, your blind Vika with diabetes, already then we managed to collect money and get her insulin and test strips. That was a serious sum. After that we’ve managed to collect 40 thousand rubles a month for her, which enabled us to get for her expensive medications for the TB therapy. It was a miracle, and I still don’t believe we pulled her out.
How to choose? It’s hard.
Therefore many of you have been sending donations with the label “whoever needs it more.”
And I want you to know we’ve never abandoned anyone. Because of you, who donate for “whoever needs it more.” All dedicated collections are kept track of (each donation is recorded in my secret book), but we also help those who have not attracted donations. I think you see all that in the number of posts, and there are so many of them I can’t find a suitable story.
Thank you for your trust.
I also want to say something else–sometimes people write and are embarrassed by the amount of the donation. “Please pardon me for the small donation,” “please forgive, for God’s sake,” “it’s so awkward.” And I taken aback by such notes.
100 rubles–that’s money too. Yes, for many Muscovites, including my friends, that’s a paltry sum, less than two trips on the Metro. But on the Donbass that’s real money.
Pensions there are 2000 rubles, average salary is 5000. Assuming one has work, because it’s hard to find. Half the mines and factories are idle. Food is expensive as it is in Moscow. People survive thanks to relatives and gardens.
Please, don’t be embarrassed to donate such sums. Every 100 rubles is a little stream that becomes part of the river which helps us organize all of this aid.
I receive 300 rubles every month from a retiree, and when I see it, I’m greatly overjoyed and it sets my mood for the rest fo the day.
As a rule, people who help are not those who have something extra, but those who have experienced something serious. Who know what pain and suffering is. That’s how it is.
Stories of those who donate are no less interesting, sad, and profound than the stories of the people we help.
I’m glad are opening up and sharing that which pains you.
Sometimes it seems the whole world against me and everything is awful. I can’t say that I have overcome all of my depressions. I can’t say that everything is fine and I’m marching on with my head held high.
The world is seriously stuck in crap, and no matter what you say, there are more bad people than good ones. That’s how it turned out, but that’s what makes these latter ones–you–all the more precious.
Reading your letters, seeing your beauty, your caring, I realize I’m very fortunate because I know you exist.
Thank you for being there.
P.S. I’ve reread the post. Hell, I planned to write something else, but I ended up sucking up to you). Fine, I won’t rewrite a thing–so be it)
And this is us)))