UK: Helping to feed Ukraine’s tunnel children

From the Telegraph:

At night, they emerge to steal, forage and earn money from prostitution; by day, they cuddle up to the giant hot water pipes that serve public buildings. These are the street children of Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine.

Many parents, unable to care for their children, consign them to orphanages. Twelve-year-old Artom is one among thousands to have chosen to live on the streets. He says that he never knew his father, his mother drinks and his stepfather is “not kind”. He was put in the orphanage three years ago. He escaped to live underground where he was found by Father Vitaliy, a Catholic priest working for the Depaul Foundation, a UK charity working with street children.

These children’s first need is food. With the help of the Scottish charity Mary’s Meals, founded in 2002 to provide the world’s poorest children with a free daily meal at school, Fr Vitaliy has been able to lure children into some semblance of a normal life. Every night, a minibus tours the city, dispensing free meals. Each stop appears to be in the middle of nowhere, but out of the darkness they appear, first checking for police, then sneaking into the dining area.

Mary’s Meals is one of three organisations benefiting from the Telegraph Christmas Charity appeal. The closing date for donations – currently at £625,000 – is next Saturday, January 31. To make a last-minute donation, click here

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