How are retirees fed in the war?

The restaurant “Velor” in Kiev, which is associated with the People’s Deputy Nikolai Tishchenko, is quite an important place. There are several reasons. First, this is one of the most expensive shops in the capital. The second reason is the scandal that broke out two years ago, due to the operation of the restaurant during the first lockdown.

From the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the first bombings of Kiev, the “Velor” first closed and then opened its doors to an unusual audience for itself – retirees and elderly immigrants. Now Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:30 to 14:45 free social meals are distributed in the Kiev symbol of “luxury life”.

The inspirer of the social work in the restaurant was Alla Baranovskaya, the wife of Nikolai Tishchenko, as well as the model and owner of a chain of beauty salons. For the first few days, he peeled potatoes in the kitchen with everyone else and cooked with the cooks. But today he went to the western border to meet a new batch of humanitarian aid. “We plan to feed 500 people a day, we try to increase the volume, we wait for the team to be replenished in the kitchen, so that everything is faster,” Baranovskaya explains by phone. decided to check what and how the Ukrainians in need are fed during the war and what the grandparents themselves say about it.

“If you had come 50 years earlier, we would have talked to you about love, we would have gone to the cinema”

12:20. On the way to the institution an impressive line is already visible. Evelina Andrievskaya (Nikolai Tishchenko’s assistant) meets us at the back entrance and leads us to the kitchen. Here it is light, a little noisy, all surfaces are lined with pots. Some of them are already ready for download, some are still empty. In containers today, pasta, cabbage salad and carrot salad, chicken and homemade bread. They intend to feed 150 people. Every day they cook something different. We do not stay long in the kitchen, we are advised to go to the hall, since we are without overalls and with unwashed hands.

Lunches are served on the street – at the table in front of the restaurant. Evelina says that it is easier this way and the grandmothers themselves suggested it last time: they say, it will be faster than everyone in the institution will be crowded.

12:30 p.m. +10 points out. The doors open and a large tray with the first batch of boats comes out on the street. Above the containers are the words “We will win soon”, “Ukraine will be fine” and a yellow heart. Lunch comes out very quickly. Evelina and Julia in light-colored sweatshirts and jeans share a portion in each hand. The grandmothers are worried that the girls will not freeze, the grandparents say how beautiful they are and they regret that they did not meet them before.

“If you had come 50 years earlier, we would have talked to you about love, we would have gone to the cinema, – tells us the first grandfather we approached. – I’m coming here for lunch as soon as possible. Very tasty food. “

Everyone speaks a language that is convenient: you can hear both Russian and Ukrainian. They discuss the weather, the situation in Borodyanka and the disaster in Mariupol, talk about how cold it is at home. In the meantime, they ask if it is possible to get another portion for a friend / mother / neighbor who may not be coming for health reasons.

First of all we must share with all who came. We would give at least 10 boats in one hand, but if we do, then what would we say to those who stood on the road for an hour and could not get their lunch because it was not enough?one of the girls gently explains to her grandmother.

“I saw from the kitchen window that they were sharing something here. I decided to go see it.”

They promise to share a second portion if they stay. On one side of the entrance a group of people is formed waiting for the queue to finish and the opportunity to get another container. They bring cups of hot tea to a tray and coffee is made on request.

13:00. The wind is blowing, it is cooling, Evelina and Julia put on the hoods of the sweatshirts and continue to share the next batch of containers.

Sugar-free tea for some reasonOne of the women complains quietly to the side.

Drink, but tasty berry, there will be no diabetes“, – answers the one standing next to her.

The siren sounds. No one is afraid anymore and no longer looks around. Everyone is calm about their job and keeps in touch.

The containers are running out. The girls ask to wait a while – they do not have time to finish cooking, because few people work in the kitchen. While we wait, one of the women shares a recipe for cooking cod with vegetables in the oven.

13:30. There are few people left in the restaurant. Especially those who are waiting for the second portion. Zinaida Ivanovna ran from the house opposite a minute ago.

I saw from the kitchen window that something was being shared. He decided to go seeShe says, packing the jars in her bag.

When there are no more “newcomers”, the portions are distributed in the second cycle: to someone – two, to someone – three. Satisfied grandparents break up.

We return to the restaurant. Many people sit in the semi-darkness of the hall, drink coffee and warm up. Among them is Valery. He says it cures almost everything. He once put a Japanese ballerina on her feet. It turns out that Valery is not a physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor, but a traditional healer. It promises to relieve the headache in a few seconds. It shows in our palms which parts of the hand we should press to increase or decrease the pressure. He leaves his business card at the bar, thanks and leaves.

14:00. Some people enter the restaurant and after a minute – some more.

Are they still serving meals? Or are we too late?they ask standing at the door.

The girls are slow to respond – it is not certain that the portions will be enough. They say that now they will endure the last and more, unfortunately, they will not be able to feed anyone today.

Having shared 257 meals instead of 150, the girls say goodbye to the last grandmothers until Friday, send greetings to their daughters and go to the kitchen. We leave too, with a smile and the feeling that we belong to a good deed. The sirens could no longer be heard outside.

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