Stories of Change


Top: Kitchen equipment is delivered at the shelter. Middle: Julia and her six-year-old son, Mysha. Bottom: new Kitchen area in the Refugee Accommodation Center

A Familiar Meal, a Sense of Home

During the darkest of times, a familiar meal can bring us back to a place of calm and happiness. For Julia, a familiar meal is just one of the many comforts she and her family were forced to leave behind in Ukraine. Like many other Ukrainian refugees, Julia had to abruptly drop everything and take her mother and two children to a nearby country for safety.

Julia and her family are currently residing in the Refugee Accommodation Center in Soroca, Moldova. While they are safe, they still live in fear and anguish thinking about their loved ones and the life they were forced to leave behind. For Julia, this includes her husband, who is now working in a relatively safe part of Ukraine in order to maintain an income for the family, her mother- and father-in-law and the small shoe business Julia ran in Kharkiv.

The shelter Julia and her family are residing in lacked kitchen equipment, which created challenges to food accessibility and nutrition. Due to this issue, many refugees have been avoiding the center and seeking refuge elsewhere. Currently, about 70-80 people reside in the shelter which has a capacity of about 300 people.

To combat this, CWS has donated $28,000 worth of kitchen equipment to the shelter. Not only will this new equipment alleviate some of the struggles the residents have to go through, but it will help develop community and a sense of home. “We are happy to participate in preparing the meals and creating a bit of atmosphere that reminds us of home,” Julia shared.

Beyond daily meals, Julia expressed excitement about the other fun things she can now cook for her two boys, Mysha and Kyrylo. With joy she tells us, “my younger son loves when I prepare sweets at home. I can’t wait to surprise him with some pancakes, preferably with Nutella or chocolate cream. My older son would love an omelet with sausages for breakfast. I don’t think he would ever get bored with a breakfast like that. You know, children are a great joy and a strong driver and motivation. I am happy that in this difficult situation for all of us I can have peace with them here.”

These simple joys are what many refugees use to fuel the strength that allows them to continue moving forward. At CWS, we are continuing our partnership with local organizations in Moldova to best understand how we can provide support. In the next coming months, we will be working to provide medical supplies, clothing, bedding and other donations to refugees residing in the community. Our hope is to support many more refugees like Julia and her family, so that they may also find moments of joy and comfort during these difficult times.