I come from Mykolaiv. Ultramarathon runner, bronze medalist of the Ukrainian 48-hour running championship with a result of 282 km, personal trainer, curator of the Run-2-goal running club in Mykolaiv, founder of the Vegan Run running club, head of the Food for Life charitable foundation in Mykolaiv.
Many of my friends cannot leave the city, because it is fenced off, there are a lot of police, EMERCOM workers… I hope that everything will be fine after all. And I will still have a home… But that’s it…
Regarding the people I talked to at the Podil distribution point, there were visitors from Kharkiv, Mariupol and other cities. In the queue, people also shouted the names of other Ukrainian cities, but we had a chance to talk to the refugees from only aforementioned cities.
People’s stories are very similar to each other, because there they bombed cities very hard and hard. In Mariupol, in general, people sat in basements for a long time without water and food… They told how they struggled to find and get water… It’s hard to put it into words, and their stories are impressive.
Imagine, many refugees live on the street! In basements, parks, in tents, under a bridge. You talk to them and you see that they are quite normal people.
I can tell you my own story, because it is the closest to me. I am also an immigrant. Thank God I don’t live on the street, but in my brother’s apartment. No rent and I am very grateful to him for that. By the way, the prices for renting apartments in the country today are simply sky-rocketing. There is a war in the country, and the tenants decided to make money from it… Unfortunately, we have to face many negative things now.
Before the war, many people left Mykolaiv. I stayed and helped in the temple every day for about two months. And for me it was rather a mercy, because such service still needs to be earned.
When the first shelling began on February 24, I decided to stay in the temple. Firstly, to help, and secondly, my house is on the edge of the city, not far from military units.
It is clear that people stopped going to the temple due to constant shelling and hid in basements. Many left the city.
On the second day, I wanted to open the Food of Life at the temple. I called my seniors and got their permission. We were two men, we cooked 50 liters of kirchi from the products that were in the temple and distributed them to people.
The next day, 100 liters were distributed. On the third day, two women, Oksana and Vira, joined us, and we began to prepare even more food. Every day for 16 hours, we cooked food for 40 days. During shelling and air raids.
Then volunteers, my friends, started coming to us to help. The project developed so much that we had full warehouses of products. Businessmen and city leadership also helped us, then they started bringing products from Romania, Poland, many donations came from abroad.
They fed both the military and the Teroboron (territorial defence). We carried products from all over the city in our hands (bags of cereals, vegetables, etc.), because there were no taxis in the city. And this is under fire…
Since I am a media person, I invited friends from television to make a video about us, that we need a car. And the next day we received a call from a man who decided to help carry groceries in his car. And we began to go to the city center and distributed 300-400 lunches a day. Volunteers also delivered food to people’s houses on bicycles.
After 40 days, the bombing intensified and I was called and asked to take older women out of Mykolaiv. We got into a taxi and went to Odesa the next day. They almost didn’t take things with them. Since the beginning of the war, I haven’t gone home, but I know that the house is intact. I hope it will last.
After Odesa, we moved to Izmail, where we stayed for about a month and also distributed lunches at the Izmail Food of Life. And then to Kyiv, where we have been living for 4 months and also give out hot lunches.