Back in the fall of 2021, a few months before full-scale war broke out; we had been planning out the next year of operation at our soup kitchen. We decided we would start building a dormitory for the homeless. Our soup kitchen has been in operation next to the friary in Kremenchuk for fourteen years.

The soup kitchen serves forty to fifty meals to the needy every Tuesday and Thursday. Those who are sick or injured can receive first aid and medicine. Moreover, there is a bathroom adjacent to the kitchen where the clients can shower, get their hair cut and receive clean clothes.
Over the last ten years of doing this, the local residents and city authorities have come to accept us. We have some volunteers who help us with social work and some benefactors who regularly support this work of mercy.
Those under our care include children, youth and the elderly. Some of them, through no fault of their own, are facing hunger and find themselves in a difficult situation. Most of them, however, ended up on the streets due to alcohol addiction.
Homeless people and those with addictions, often face indifference from society and hostility from their family members. It is a great misfortune that violence often breaks out between them or that they are sometimes treated like punching bags for the gangs operating in the city.
Our ministry is not limited to providing meals; we carry out other charitable activities, such as dialogue, brief catechesis, and the administration of the sacraments. We eat lunch with the soup kitchen clients, we try to listen to them and help them as much as possible.
The most difficult time for our clients is winter. Infection and frostbite are very common among them. This causes a rather high mortality rate. Every winter, about ten to twenty people die from frostbite or tuberculosis. When it’s freezing, the clients can remain in the soup kitchen for a few hours a day, watch TV, and drink hot tea. This is all we can offer them at the moment.
The situation described above has mobilized us to take further steps to help our brothers and sisters, so that they do not die from exposure, so they can win their battle with alcoholism, and so that at least some of them can lead a normal life.
In early 2022, we were excited about possibly building a dormitory. While we were trying to figure out the logistics, the war broke out. This increased the number of needy people at our soup kitchen. Besides the homeless clients, there are seventy elderly people who have come to the city from other places, or are living in the city without their families. Since we cannot accommodate them in the soup kitchen together with the homeless, soup and bread are delivered to their homes. They are also provided with medicine, clothing and cleaning supplies as needed.
The situation further mobilized us to carry out the planned project. Our friendly architects have drafted a blueprint for the “St. Joseph Social Center.” We want the new building to have a kitchen, a dining area, bathroom facilities and dormitory for the homeless. In addition, we want to create a therapy studio for those who wish to overcome homelessness and alcoholism.
Finally, we are pleased to report that a few days ago we took the first step toward realizing our project. After a year of prayer and negotiation, we purchased some land to build the dormitory. This was no easy matter. At first we hoped to buy the land from a neighbor of ours, whose house is partially on our property. Unfortunately, she kept putting off the decision and asking for an inflated price. In January of this year, we turned to another neighbor who agreed to sell us her land immediately at half the price. This was a wonderful event for us.
As soon as we receive the right of ownership, we will submit an application to the municipal authorities for a building permit and approval of the project.
With God’s help and the support of our benefactors, we hope the St. Joseph Social Center will be soon be built next to the friary in Kremenchuk. Thus, we will be able to serve the homeless more effectively, provide them with food aid, offer them shelter during cold weather, and guide them in overcoming homelessness and alcohol addiction.

Friar Stanisław PĘKALA