While the U.S. has been ramping up the economy again and struggling to fight more waves of COVID-19, many orphanages we serve are still locked down under local and regional COVID restrictions.

In most places, we still can’t physically be there to support the children and our volunteers can’t see them in person except through the orphanage windows from outside, perhaps when dropping off supplies and treats, but nobody can stop us from thinking about them, praying for them and helping them with whatever we can. They are far away, but they are also very close to our hearts. And we want the best for them from the bottom of our heart.

I want to tell you about a wonderful, beautiful little girl. Her name is Allochka, or Alla. She is 7 years old. As a baby she and her mom lived with her grandma and grandpa because her mother wasn’t able to care for and support both of them on her own.

When Alla was two years old, her grandpa died from cancer. Soon after that Alla's mom left the house exclaiming, "I want to be happy."

Alla was left with her grandma, and her mom never came back.

A few months later the house they lived in burned down and they had no place to live. They went from one place to another until one kind woman allowed them to stay in her empty apartment for free.

For the last five years grandma has been taking good care of Alla. They have been through hard times, but her grandma never gave up and never had a thought to take her granddaughter to the orphanage.

Many times people from social services came to her with an offer to take Alla to the orphanage. They even found a family who wanted to adopt the girl, but her grandma did everything to keep her Alla home with her.

She knocked on many doors for help and even wrote a letter to Russian President Putin and she got an answer. She was helped – she was given an apartment. Right now they have a place to live and the two of them live together. They still have many difficulties, but they are together!

The grandma was so thankful to the Allies for all the Christmas gifts for Alla. She cannot afford to buy clothes and toys for her, so Alla only gets these things if someone gives. She was so moved by people's kindness, from people who never met her and Alla.

Grandma would appreciate any help with clothes, shoes, etc. Also, because Alla is going to school this year, the teacher said she would need a notebook and some school supplies, as well as any kind of digital device to study at a distance per the social distancing requirements. Allies will be sending school supplies from the recently stocked warehouse (thank you donors!).

Alla is a very sweet, kind girl and we’re thankful we have been able to help during these challenging times! Thank you to everyone who supports Allies and children like Alla – for your help, prayers and participation in her life.