Grigory Sverdlin has been doling out free meals from a night bus in Russia’s second-biggest city for the best part of the past two decades. Rarely has he seen so much demand as in the past few weeks.
“In St. Petersburg we usually feed around 80 people a night at each of the four stops. Now there are 120-140 people every evening,” said Sverdlin, who started as a volunteer at the Nochlezhka charity in 2003 and is now director. “There’s just a huge number of people right now who are out of work and on the street, or in a very difficult financial situation.”