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Olga: A desperate single mother receives strength to carry on

Olga came to Israel alone six years ago from the former Soviet Union, wanting to make a new start in life. She settled in Kiryat Shmona, where she met her husband. He had a good job with a steady salary, so after they got married they put a down payment on a new house. In the years that followed, Olga gave birth to three children — Gideon, now five, Ruthy, now three, and Anna, who's now one and a half.

A year ago, Olga's husband became gravely ill and passed away. Olga found herself alone with her grief, three small children, no job, and angry bank managers on her back. She was left without any means to pay for their house, let alone her family's daily necessities.

Olga faced her new reality with courage and a resolution to keep her family together. She enrolled in a professional course offered to new immigrants by the city, hoping that afterwards she will be able to find a decent job and support her family. In the meantime, she struggles between working odd jobs to earn some money and taking care of her young children. She runs all day long from her studies, to work (when work can be found), to pick up the children from their schools, and to endless talks with the bank.

Gideon and Ruthy's teachers, who noticed the children hoarding food at school, turned to Kiryat Shmona's welfare department. The Beit Batya soup kitchen's delivery man knocked on Olga's door the next afternoon. Olga was sitting at home crying — she hadn't been able to find work for over a week and she couldn't even afford to buy a loaf of bread for her children that day. When she opened the door and saw the deliveryman with his four packaged meals, she cried even harder — but these were tears of joy.

Since that day, Olga knows that each day at noon someone who cares about her and her young children will come to the door, carrying nutritious and warm meals. Each Friday, the deliveryman also brings a basket filled with staple foods to last a week.

Olga is confident that things will pick up soon enough. She will finish her studies, find a good job, and be able to stand on her own two feet again. But she will never forget the ray of light and friendship that came into her life right when she needed it the most — that brought her family comfort and joy. Olga says: "The food provided through the kind donation of The Fellowship has kept my children strong and healthy. I don't know what to say to express my gratitude for such a beautiful gift. I don't know how I can ever repay it."

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