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Food Prices Double in Ukraine

June 1, 2014
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Photo by Isranet

I just heard from our Project Tikvah (Hope) director with the shocking news that food prices have doubled in Ukraine. For the people being helped by Project Tikvah soup kitchens, this is not just an inconvenience—it is a disaster.

Already they were on a forced diet because of their economic situation. I have been in many of the homes of those we help. I have snooped in their kitchen cupboards. It is hard to imagine those cupboards being barer. Tragically, while food costs have doubled, income levels stayed the same. The same grocery budget now buys half as much food. Many of the elderly Jewish people we assist only eat one meal a day—the one they receive from a Project Tikvah soup kitchen.

One of the leaders of the Jewish community in the Charkasky region informed us this week that people are lacking almost everything and are very grateful for anything they receive.

Situation on the Ground

The situation in Ukraine goes from bad to worse. Every time we listen to the news, we hear of a new horror. Recently 40 people were killed in Odessa. Anti-Semitism is growing and Jews are often the scapegoat for those who want to blame someone for their distress.

While we are working diligently to help the Jewish people make aliyah (immigrate to Israel), many we assist with food through Project Tikvah are too old or sick to leave. We must care for them.

One of the pastors we work with in Ukraine wrote this week expressing thanks for the keeping power of the Lord, and for our assistance. He reports that in spite of great difficulties, the soup kitchen is still feeding the people as normal. Following is a quote from his letter. I have left it as he wrote it (even with mistakes in English) so you can feel his heart. I don’t identify him for his protection.

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“Now most people are troubled and worry a lot. They have many questions without answers: people don’t know what and how will be. Our political and economical situation is hard. People are in sadness and despondency. Believers are praying more.

“Actions of Russian powers and authorities towards Ukraine were completely unexpected for Ukrainians. In Russian mass media all facts and actions are perverse and misrepresented. People’s opinion and reaction of global community is totally ignored by Russian authorities. Their actions are very aggressive. Radical Russian troops aggravate inter-ethnic relations [Editor’s note: especially true for the Jewish people] and we don’t know what kind of actions there might be.

“No one was ready to these events, so quickly and unexpectedly they entered our history. That is why, nobody can predict further course of events. Product prices rise and economical situation is very unstable.”

God’s People Are Suffering Today

In the mid-twentieth century the people of this region were nearly destroyed because of the Nazi aggression followed by the oppressive regime of Stalin. Millions were killed, including 6 million Jews. When I look back on that time, I like to think that if I had been there I would have rescued Jews. The facts are, I wasn’t yet born and as devastating as the Holocaust was, I can’t change that reality. But, I am alive today. I do see the suffering of God’s people today. So, the question I am asking is: “What does God want me to do now to help feed the hungry Jewish people of Ukraine? What is God asking us to do to rescue the Jewish people and help them come home to Israel?”

God has chosen us to be alive today. He didn’t make a mistake. We have “come into the kingdom for such a time as this.” So far this year (since the conflict began) we have made it possible, through Project Rescue, for nearly 800 Jewish families to relocate to Israel from the Ukraine. We are helping many more who are in the process of trying to leave. We are also feeding many in Project Tikvah each month—those who are unable to leave.

Can You Help?

Our current Project Tikvah budget has just been slashed in half because of the increased food prices. Unless we can allocate more funds, we will be unable to continue to feed the same number of people with the same amount of food. I don’t want to cut a single person off the program. I don’t want to reduce the amount of food they receive. In fact, I want to help more people. Your gift to Project Tikvah can save lives. Any size gift will make a difference.

The Word says, “‘But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,’ says the LORD” (Jer. 23:3–4).

My prayer at this time is, “Oh Lord, let us be some of those who feed Your people, that they may fear no more or be lacking for any good thing.” Join Bridges for Peace today as we reach out in love to the Jewish people suffering in Ukraine. Your gift to Project Tikvah will help feed those who are unable to make aliyah. Your gift to Project Rescue will help others relocate to Israel, their forever God-ordained home.

Blessings from Israel,

Rebecca J. Brimmer

International President and CEO