As many as 245 packages containing food, medicaments, and medical supplies have been donated by Caritas of the Archdiocese of Prague to socially isolated seniors living in villages served by the Grodno Diocese in Belarus.
Tamara Afanasyevna is a friendly, warm-hearted 84-year-old lady from the village of Porechye. She has remained alone at her advanced age, her only company being a small kitten. She has never been quite able to cope with a tragedy that struck more than 15 years ago, when her house completely burned down. Tamara now lives in a small derelict barn that was spared from the fire. She spent the last money she had on a new bed and plastic foil to cover the roof. As long as the weather is warm, she stays in the barn. When the temperatures drop, she moves in with her neighbors.
Tamara is regularly visited by social workers from the Grodno Caritas Branch. The last time they came, they brought her a package containing non-perishable foods thanks to donations from Czech donors. The package included canned roasted meat, corn, beans, peas, rice, buckwheat, semolina, cereals, pasta, wheat flour, salt, sugar, spices, sunflower oil, and tea.
In expressing gratitude to Czech donors, Director of the Grodno Caritas Branch Roman Raczko commented, „Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to provide this service any longer. Recently, there has been a drop in the number of sponsors, both local and international, caused not only by the COVID pandemic, but also by the continuing political situation and government repression. Fortunately, Caritas of the Archdiocese of Prague, which provides long-term assistance to children from disadvantaged families in the Grodno region and students in our theology seminar, has responded to our pleas and filled the gap in the funding of our services.“
Social workers have paid a visit to 245 seniors. They were in the field three times a week and on average visited four to five households every day, spending about an hour in each of them. „The seniors were delighted to receive the donated food. They were immensely grateful for the attention they received and the interest in their wellbeing. We took advantage of the opportunity and informed them of available social services and assistance provided by government authorities and public organizations,“ added Raczko.
Caritas of the Archdiocese of Prague has been active in Belarus since 2004. At present, assistance is provided to approximately 600 impoverished children under the Child Sponsorship Program. In addition, Caritas has been sponsoring the Krychaw Retirement Home since 2018. Recently, the Krasnapolle Retirement Home has been added to the assistance portfolio. Last December, Caritas organized humanitarian aid for refugees on the Poland-Belarus border.
„One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed.“ (Proverbs 19:17)
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