FAR’s Gyumri Atinizian Senior Center, also known as the Gyumri Soup Kitchen, was completely renovated and refurbished late last year, which was made possible by a generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. Nishan and Margarit Atinizian. Assembly of the dining room’s 110 new chairs and 19 tables this month was the long-awaited final touch for the Center, which serves hot meals five days a week to 200 seniors. In addition, a new heating system was installed thanks to a surplus raised by Ayo!’s “Vardenis Sunday School" project.
FAR’s Gyumri Soup Kitchen was founded in 2001 and it has filled a great need in the area hit hardest by economic decay following the 1988 earthquake and the fall of the Soviet Union. These events greatly increased the number of people in Gyumri in need of emergency assistance. Many of them who had been self-sufficient in the past found themselves unemployed for the first time in their lives, depending on the soup kitchen to help them to get enough to eat.
The Gyumri Soup Kitchen did just that by not only providing healthy and balanced meals to local retirees and the unemployed, but also by offering a sense of community where visitors could find solace in the presence of the others. In addition, the Soup Kitchen provides vouchers with which elderly seniors in need can access public baths.
“It’s better than home. Very warm, comfortable, and the meal is delicious. Borscht with meat is very special here,” noted 55-year-old Tamara who started attending the soup kitchen with her husband, Hovsep, 52, four years ago when they grew weary of struggling with constant food shortage.
“The Gyumri Soup Kitchen renovation and heating was a key priority for us to guarantee access to a better, warmer and brighter environment for our seniors, for whom FAR’s soup kitchens are a lifeline,” said FAR Soup Kitchens Project Coordinator Rafik Martirosyan.