Harvest for the Hungry

The home of Harvest for the Hungry in Essex
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Christmas 2006

Stories of some people who were supported by food and Christmas gifts in December.

When someone goes to do social work and give out food to poor families, sometimes they might regard people they give help to just as objects. So, it is moving and touching when someone steps over this boundary and gets to actually know the people they are helping. Sometimes it is the turning point in ones attitude towards the people in need. They are as much people as we all are and they have their own stories, wishes, dreams...

I will share some of the stories I found moving for me:

This guy has a very interesting "profession". Actually he is the only one in the town who does this - he unclogs toilets and drains. Here you should be reminded that the toilets in this part of the country are mostly not like in the city, but with cesspools. I am not going to go deeper in details, but you can imagine why he is the only one who does this. And he is not expensive - what he wants is just some levs (currency) to buy bread and/or a bottle of rakia (Bulgarian whiskey/schnapps).

This lady is from the church. She is a very kind and nice old lady, her name is granny Darinka. To be more specific, she was from the church. Now she is 81, and she is very sick and cannot come to church. She became a widow while young, and not long after that her daughter died and left a girl. This girl (granny Darinka's grandaughter) grew up and bore two boys (granny Darinka's great grand children), well, but she went to work in Sofia, so now granny Darinka takes care of these boys. When Darinka walks, she gets dizzy. The boys help her. One is about 18, the other is about 13. They all survive on granny Darinka's pension.

This family has 7 children. In the picture we have also some of us that helped with the distribution of gifts. In the neighbourhood here people often have a nickname as well as their own name. So the name of the woman here is Snow-White (this is her own name) and the people call the family "Snow-White and the seven elves" - they have 7 children. The parents, Snow-White and her man, whom people call Prince Sally are both unemployed, and live in very bad conditions.

This woman used to come to the church in the past and for some reason she has quit. Now she is sick, the electricity is cut off of her house because it is not paid for, and we went to give her a Christmas gift and to show her the church has not forgotten her. So she was touched as you can imagine.

These guys are from a family that has 4 children. The mother died recently of a lung cancer. When I went to distribute the food aid to them, the father had a kidneys crisis. So he almost could not get off the bed. They live in total misery and you can see the smiles on their faces.

This girl is 18, she is pregnant. She, her husband and her mother are unemployed and they all live together.

These people are from the church in a village in the north of Bulgaria. They are very poor. The boy is very intelligent. His mother adopted him a long time ago. But he has some behaviour problems at school. So we hope that somehow we could contribute to the improvement of his behaviour as well. His name is Kircho.

This man is also from the church. His name is Velyan. He is poor, he has had several heart surgeries and his heart is very sick. He has a son who is in his twenties. The son is also sick and the father takes care of him. He is schizophrenic.

This lady helps Velyan to look after his son. She is also very poor.

There are other people we helped too. I hope these few stories help you to see how this aid contributes to change people's life.

Words and pictures by Rady Apostlov 2006.

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