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Faces of The Fellowship: Yuriy

Faces of The Fellowship: Yuriy (photo: JDC/Vladimir Shraga)

Imagine trying to survive on only $48 a month – around $1.50 a day. It sounds impossible. Yet each month that is exactly what Yuriy, an elderly resident of Kiev, must do. After spending his whole adult life working on construction sites, Yuriy unfortunately has little to show for it. His pension is unbelievably small, and because much of his working life overlapped with Soviet times, he never had savings or any type of personal retirement plan.

The only home Yuriy can afford is a bare, one-room apartment, which is where he lives, alone, in central Kiev, Ukraine. A commercial realtor recently took over some of the space on the bottom floor, and their subsequent renovations damaged the foundation, leading to cracks in the walls of Yuriy’s apartment. Yuriy does not have the resources to battle the realtor in court. All he can do is hope his house does not collapse on him as he sleeps.

Yuriy’s friends are aware of his dire financial situation, but they can do little to help him. “One of my friends approached me recently and offered to hire me for some construction work,” says Yuriy with a sad smile. “Was he laughing at me? I can’t work anymore, I’m too weak.” 

Instead, he cuts corners, trying to stretch his pension as far as he can. His daily diet consists of a piece of bread, or, if he’s lucky, a sandwich for breakfast and soup for lunch. “Soup is very important for my health,” Yuriy explains. “As for dinner . . . I eat as luck provides.”

Even this meager diet is only possible thanks to the help of The Fellowship, which has given Yuriy a bank card with a monthly allowance which Yuriy uses to buy both food and medicine. We also provide Yuriy with winter relief to help him survive the cold winter months and special food packages to help him celebrate the Jewish holidays. This past year, as utility prices across Ukraine reached record highs, The Fellowship covered the cost of Yuriy’s communal utility payments, which he must pay the building each year.

“Thank you,” says Yuriy. “I am so grateful for your support, both moral and financial. With The Fellowship, I know I am not alone.”  

Learn how you can help impoverished people like Yuriy receive the lifesaving care they desperately need.

And help us keep impoverished elderly people, including Holocaust survivors, warm this winter when you support our Operation Winter Warmth project!

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