The Depaul Ukraine team hold regular food distributions where people can collect food baskets or meals from local volunteers.

There are many older people like Nadia who are housebound and rely on volunteers like Mikhaila to deliver food baskets to their homes (Nadia and Mikhaila’s names have been changed).

War brings unimaginable suffering. But daily life continues, and people like Nadia need to find food for themselves and their families amidst all the danger and uncertainty. Nadia and Mikhaila’s testimonies show how our local volunteers are taking care of vulnerable people, by making sure they at least have food and water.

Nadia and Mikhaila shared their stories with the Disaster and Emergency Committee (DEC) during their recent trip to Kharkiv. We are receiving funding from the DEC’s very successful Ukraine appeal, thanks to our partnership with CAFOD.

Nadia’s story

“I am 71-year-old engineer by profession. I have been a widow for the last 19 years, and live in a village near Kharkiv with my son.”

“I was diagnosed with an ulcer last year and spent all of my savings on the treatment. Now, my son and I cannot afford to move anywhere from here. Most days, we are unable to even leave the house. The biggest blow came in late March when artillery shelling destroyed several apartments and a fire broke out. Firefighters thankfully managed to extinguish it. One pensioner died in one of the apartments that day. The next day, everyone who could, fled town.”

“I like to tend to my old garden. I enjoy going to church to meet like-minded people and cooking my favourite dishes with home-grown vegetables from my garden. It is not easy to live, or sleep, with the noise from distant explosions and the sirens that still sound every day and night. I survive thanks to people like Mikhaila, who take care of me.”

“I prefer to remain in Kharkiv. Because of my peptic ulcer, I have to eat according to a strict schedule, making it difficult for me to just leave. I also developed osteoarthritis – now it is difficult for me to walk.”

“Just a week ago, our yard was cleared of concrete blocks and fragments. At one point, the entrance to our building was blocked, and I could not go outside at all for several weeks. Again, I survived because Mikhaila delivered water and food. We are glad that we survived. That the spring has come. We hope that people will return, and normal life will resume. But we are not sure when this will be.”


“I assist local residents in need, especially the elderly such as Nadia. I also assist people with grocery shopping and food provision. I found out about the humanitarian aid available and asked someone from the Depaul shelter to come to our building to assist the retirees staying there. Thanks to volunteers, I was able to distribute food to those trapped in their apartments.”

To support our work in Ukraine, please go to our Depaul Ukraine Emergency Appeal page.