A mother and her three daughters found their second home and a bigger family four years ago when we opened up our soup kitchen in Berd City. As a struggling, low-income family, the Arakelyans—Melanya, 75, and her daughters, Alvard, 47, Lusine, 40, and Asya, 39—were identified as soup kitchen beneficiaries at its inception.

Lusine is the most talkative among the sisters who each struggle with their own learning disability. “Our mother can’t walk anymore so we take her meals home after we eat here. Everything cooked here is very delicious but my favorite is the chicken soup. Actually, it was the first thing I tried when first came to soup kitchen,” Lusine said.

Lusine’s father died when she was four, leaving Melanya to raise the girls on her own.

“I only remember being happy as a child,” said Lusine.

Now, the four of them share a room in their uncle’s house. Melanya’s monthly pension, the family’s poverty subsidy, and the disability pensions the daughters receive all add up to around $200 a month, most of which is spent on medication. This makes a meal at the soup kitchen extremely important for them.

“It is like God sent us help when FAR opened the soup kitchen as it is a real relief for the family. It is not easy for us to buy food every day and the kitchen helps us to have meals five days a week,” Lusine added.

Recently, Lusine found a job as a cleaner in Berd City and feels more comfortable. She feels certain that she will be able to buy wood for winter to heat their room. Previously, they’d been accustomed to wearing several layers of warm clothes to fight off the chill.

“Maybe now because I work and we can eat at FAR’s soup kitchen, life will get a bit better,” she said.