Upon entering the areas near the front line, total confusion begins.  

However, when entering the liberated settlements once occupied by Russian forces, one can greatly rejoice at being freed from the occupiers and only feel a slight sadness. It is in these southern Ukrainian villages that the distribution of free bread from “Operation Blessing” takes place.

When we brought the bread, volunteers accompanied us in their car, which was filled with bread up to the ceiling. As we passed by, we saw tilted houses and sometimes buildings damaged by war. But in every house where people live, fresh curtains hang cozily on the windows, and green plants flourish in pots.

Looking at this, for a moment it seemed like there was no war at all. As if the catastrophe had bypassed or had never happened. That life goes on. A slow, rural, peaceful life.

Passing through the village of Lepetykha, I don’t see a single person on the street. Not surprising, as every local resident has long been in line for bread. The distribution takes place on the territory of the village council, which is housed in a small yet neat building adorned with embroidered Ukrainian towels on the inside. Here, people don’t quarrel; they patiently wait in line for bread. Children’s laughter can be heard from the playground, and in the queue, adults contemplate how to recover after the war.

It’s here that we meet a local resident named Larisa Nefyodova. She is reluctant to share the details of her story but has no hesitation in sincerely thanking the Americans for the bread.

The war had a very cruel impact on our lives. We were bombed every day, so we had to sleep in a cold basement. But a cold basement is only half the trouble. The worst part was when rockets came at us right after my father’s surgery. He was immobile and couldn’t move. Quite literally, I carried him up and down the stairs to the basement. That, to me, was like living through hell. Bomb fragments rattle on the roof, and you feel them falling. I wanted to quickly run to the bomb shelter, but I couldn’t because I had to carry my father. I find it very frightening to remember that nightmare.

Even scarier is that in the war, something new and terrible happens every day. A new type of weapon, explosions, planes. We didn’t believe we could survive this. But as you can see, God showed mercy. And then we managed to survive thanks to you.

The Americans from ‘Operation Blessing’ have incredibly big hearts and unbelievably kind souls. I’m certain of it. When you brought us the first bread, a light of hope ignited in my soul. And when you continued to bring it regularly, that light never fades. It becomes brighter. And it brings joy and peace to the soul. And also the certainty that everything will be alright,” the tearful woman concluded.

Thanks to “Operation Blessing,” thousands of people receive their much-needed bread every month. We thank every partner for their love for Ukraine!

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Anna Chaban, CBN-Emmanuil