By Sharon T. Markey
September 18, 2022

We met Grandmother Lena at a lunch for Ukrainian refugees that we catered at a church in Győr, Hungary. Grandmother Lena is from the city of Zaporizhzhia in Eastern Ukraine. Shelling, the possibility of a Russian takeover of the city, and the very real danger of shelling causing a major nuclear disaster at the nearby nuclear power plant all make Zaporizhzhia extremely unsafe. Grandmother Lena escaped to Hungary with her daughter and her daughter’s two sons, ages 1 and 13.

The daughter found work at a factory, and Grandmother Lena takes care of the baby during the day. The family shares two beds in a hostel. The daughter’s job provides her with one bed, and she pays half of her monthly salary for a second bed. The family barely manages to survive on the rest of her salary. Grandmother Lena says she needs to get a job to help make ends meet, but if she does, they will have to figure out child care. The groceries, toiletries, and school supplies we were able to give them seemed like an insignificant gesture in the face of the great difficulties they face.

A man from the church that hosted the lunch heard their story and said that they are paying too much for their lodgings. We pray that he will be able to help them find more affordable accommodations and that more locals will become aware of the plight of the refugees in their midst and will be moved to help.