Usually, with our help, the Orthodox parish in Kondopoga, Karelia provides lunch and a range of activities to deprived local children – all based at their welcoming hub at Parish House. This year, group activities weren’t possible, but with unemployment rising the parish knew that the need was greater than ever.
A fantastic response from local volunteers and funding from St Gregory’s meant that they were able to support 20 families including 49 children. Each week they distributed food parcels with cleaning products and loo-roll added each month. Every child received stationery for their school work, and, where needed, clothes donated locally and new shoes. 3 trainee teachers, a fully-trained teacher and a speech therapist volunteered to help tutor children in core subjects, helping them catch up after time out of school. Despite it being the holidays most of the children responded really well. Artyom’s mother wrote:
“I don’t recognise Artyom. Before I couldn’t tear him away from his phone and his games. He never did what I asked. After sessions, he started taking an interest in things. He is happy and he can see what the gaps were in his understanding. He has become so much more confident. “
The parish will continue to support these families through the autumn and winter.