Many of the elderly in Russia are living on small pensions that do not begin to cover monthly expenses. In some cases, they have no family members who can help. Meanwhile, government programs are unable to provide much assistance and the volunteer, nonprofit sector is still in its infancy.
Early on, we set up programs to aid the elderly poor with food and medical assistance. We also recruited and trained volunteers to work in the local hospice facility. Now, we have a number of programs whereby we not only assist seniors, but also encourage them to help themselves.
Caritas Soup Kitchen
For those who cannot afford to buy food, we run a free lunch program in downtown Vladivostok. The elderly can take the trolley to the location as trolley rides are free for those who are officially retired. Meals are served to all who are in need, regardless of religious affiliation or activity.
The program operates three days a week. Meals are large and always include bread, rolls, or fruit that the visitors can take home with them. We serve hot soup, meat, cooked buckwheat, vegetables, meat pies, dessert, and hot coffee with cream and sugar.
Our Caritas staff visit with the poor during the meal. They believe it is important to learn who the people are so they can learn who needs medical care or other services. Several of our parishioners also volunteer at the soup kitchen.
We would like to expand the meal program, but funds do not allow us to do so at this time.
Our Russian volunteers, sisters, seminarians, and mission team members often visit those who are confined to the hospice facility in Vladivostok. The facility is overcrowded, understaffed, and in generally poor condition.
Many residents are not terminally ill, but just have nowhere else to go. Some patients have not set foot outside for years. And until the mission society purchased water heaters, the residents bathed in cold water.
Most have no visitors at all except for us. But they brighten up immediately when our volunteers arrive. They love to sing, tell stories, and talk about their lives. The staff members appreciate our visits as well. The hospice is truly a place that needs the Light of Christ and we are doing our best to be the light-bearers.
Medical and Dental Fund
This fund helps needy individuals who require assistance with medical and dental emergencies. A typical client might be an elderly gentleman who needs antibiotics or a grandmother who needs diabetes test strips. Additional information can be found here.
Through this program, we arrange for retired men and women to visit children in local orphanages. This benefits children and adults alike. The older beneficiaries often have no family members to spend time with, and the children enjoy having an adopted grandma or grandpa. More information is given here.
To help us with our programs for the elderly, please click below.