Each morning, about 170 people arrive at FAR’s Nor Nork Soup Kitchen to get what is, for most of them, their only nutritious meal of the day. For some, it is their only meal of the day.

The people who come to our soup kitchens often can’t make a decent living for themselves. They live in poverty, and for many of them this is the result of the dissolution of work opportunities that followed the Soviet Union’s collapse. So, they can’t support their families. Others suffer from mental illness, physical disabilities, or health issues. Some are parents, or the sons and daughters who take packaged meals home to the family members who are unable to leave the house.

Just two weeks ago, beneficiaries were enjoying a lunch of warm soup with rice, traditional borsch, buckwheat, and meat rolls, when a group of visitors led by FAR Board Member Oscar Tatosian entered and greeted everybody. They immediately began to distribute matagh — traditional sacrificial lamb — rolled in lavash, along with Armenian wine.

The group of 11, which was composed of some of our donors, was touring Armenia and had included some FAR project sites on their itinerary. They helped the soup kitchen staff by distributing food, all the while spreading their kind attitude and striking up conversations with beneficiaries about their lives, their families, etc.

“I like the hot meal I get here. Besides, people I encounter almost every day have become my family since I don’t have one of my own. It’s nice when there is someone out there who cares about your wellbeing or simply asks ‘how are you?’” said Srbuhi Ekmejyan, 62, who has been coming to the soup kitchen for more than 10 years with her one and only companion, her dog.

Later on, Srbuhi assembled the group of FAR donors and friends around her and surprised everyone with her lovely voice by performing Komitas’ song “Krunk” (Crane) to expressing her gratitude to the visitors.

“I am impressed to see all these people here, and this warm atmosphere. It is so touching,” said Sam Michaelian, a FAR donor, with excitement before he joined in a toast with the beneficiaries.

Nor Nork Soup Kitchen is a FAR Project sponsored by Dadourian Family Foundation of NY, USA. The soup kitchen provides full meals five days a week to about 170 people.