“Mercy Train” gives homeless place to eat, sleep, wash, and pray

Khabarovsk, Russia, October 17, 2017

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Three specially-equipped railway cars have been converted into a shelter for the homeless in far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk. The project was organized by the regional public organization “Mercy,” with the support of the Khabarovsk Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, the regional Ministry of Social Protection, and a number of benefactors, the Khabarovsk Diocese reports.

The so-called “Mercy Train” will open every evening, offering the local homeless a place not only to sleep, but to eat, do laundry, and even to pray in the church included in the train. The train can accommodate up to 100 people at the same time.

The Far Eastern Railway donated three second-class carriages to the “Hope” help center last year, which were set on blocks and connected together, and equipped with ventilation, electricity, heating, and water, reports prichod.ru. “Hope” is the regional branch of the all-Russian “Mercy” organization.

“There are rules,” for using the train, prichod.ru relates, “for example, you cannot come in if you are visibly drunk.”

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The night shelter was consecrated on Saturday by the rector of the Church of the Mother of God “She Who is Quick to Hear” Fr. Eugene Pokamestov. The ceremony was also attended by the assistant head of the Synodal Department for Church Charity and Social Services Ilya Kuskov, and the head of the Social Department of the Khabarovsk Diocese Fr. Nicholas Vorozhbit.

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The Khabarovsk Diocese hopes that the opening of the train-shelter will contribute to the development of volunteering in the region, which has already begun. One young woman has offered to give free haircuts to all the of the train’s patrons, for which she has provided a barber’s chair with her own funds.

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The organizers of the shelter hope that it will help to save many homeless people from the cold of the harsh Russian winters.


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