In newspapers and on television, they do not give you the address of the victims. To get it, Wanda acts like a detective. First, she opens an atlas and locates the place, then checks the book of postal codes, finds the nearest social care centre, and then calls it and inquires.
At the social care centres they are up to date with human tragedy – they know which house has burned down, whose children are starving, who is sick and who freezes in winter.”I will not fulfill all the requests,” says a 70-year-old dressmaker from Toruń. “I don’t have money to buy them coal or medicine. But I can give some of my food, prepare clothes and sew things for the flat…”
She started helping 20 years ago when she read about a sick widower from Białogard in one of the local newspapers. He had nothing to cover himself with and nothing to eat. So, she opened the wardrobe, took out the sheets, and bought some chocolate and socks. ”It was my first package. I was 49,” says Wanda. “After my son’s death, I did not want to go crazy and spend the rest of my life at his grave, so I got completely involved in helping the others.”
She rarely talk to people she helps. She gets the information about them from a social care centre. She has a fixed set of questions: how many people have suffered, what sizes do they wear, what do they need most? In her three notebooks in plaid binding, surnames are interwoven with the clothes sizes and height, with the number of children and age, and with the dimensions of the windows. Every shoe number and name is a different story.