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How Lancaster Residents Can Help the People of Ukraine

On February 24, Russia launched an invasion into Ukraine, causing hundreds of casualties, devastating destruction to several Ukrainian cities and millions of Ukrainians to flee their homes. As the rest of the world watches this tragedy unfold, many are looking for ways to support the Ukrainian people. According to CharityWatch, providing monetary donations to verified organizations and initiatives is the most effective way to support the people of Ukraine. “Unfortunately, donating stuff often creates more costs, as well as logistical and distribution headaches for aid workers on the ground,” their website reads.

If you are willing to donate, we’ve compiled a list of organizations to consider. This obviously is not an exhaustive list, as countless organizations across the world are looking to assist in Ukraine and surrounding countries. Be sure to do your research before you donate and verify that your money will be used to directly help those affected.

 

Local Ukrainian/Slavic Churches

Bethany Slavic Church in Ephrata has already raised over $140,000 for Ukrainian refugees through an online fundraiser, according to their Facebook page. Konstantin Reznik, the missions pastor at the church, is originally from Ukraine and still has family in the country. The church staff is working through their direct family contacts in Ukraine to ensure their donations and efforts are making an impact and going to the immediate support of refugee families. Church team members have also been coordinating with refugees via phone to help them navigate crossing the border and find temporary housing. The church posts frequent updates about their efforts on Facebook. Bethany Slavic Church will be hosting a fundraiser on March 26 from 1-4 p.m., which will feature barbecue, authentic Slavic baked goods, a silent auction, music and more.

St. Andrew Ukrainian Catholic Church in Lancaster is accepting monetary and material donations, such as medical supplies, hygiene products, baby formula, diapers, wipes, hand and feet warmers, linens, mobility aids, trash bags, undergarments and socks. Monetary donations can be contributed via checks to St. Andrew’s Church and marked for Ukraine Aid. All donations can be dropped off on Sundays from 12:30-3 p.m.

 

Organizations on the Ground

Chef José Andrés at Lancaster Theological Seminary in September 2019. Photo by Jordan Bush.

World Central Kitchen (WCK), an organization founded by Chef José Andrés that provides meals in the wake of humanitarian crises, is stationed along the Ukrainian borders in Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia. The organization is serving thousands of meals each day to families fleeing their homes, as well as those who remain in the country. Because of the frigid temperatures, WCK is focusing on hot, hearty meals, such as ramen, bograch soup, żurek, sandwiches, chicken and vegetable stew, fresh baked bread and more. WCK is also providing funds to restaurants in Ukrainian cities including Odessa, Lviv and Kyiv to feed those who remain in their homes. Together with 26 restaurants, WCK has served over 300,000 meals so far and is continuing to expand their efforts. Chef Andrés has been posting video updates from the border on Twitter. To donate, click here.

Miami-based Global Empowerment Mission was on the ground in Medyka, Poland, two days after the start of the invasion. They are providing aid to the war zones of Ukraine through purchasing and coordinating the delivery of food, water, medicine and medical equipment. They are also providing relocation assistance, war-zone evacuation and stability housing and are hoping to expand their efforts into Hungary and Romania. To donate, click here.

 

Animals in Ukraine

In addition to the pain of having to flee their homes, many refugees also must endure the heartbreak of leaving their pets behind. Many Ukrainian shelters and their heroic volunteers are doing their best to stay open to provide care to the animals caught up in this conflict, while organizations in surrounding countries are ramping up their services to help with the increased need.

The Humane Society is collaborating with a partner in Ukraine, UAnimals, to assess and prioritize the needs of shelters and clinics actively engaged in relief. The organization will also be supporting animal groups in neighboring countries, such as Poland and Romania, as they assist refugees arriving from Ukraine with their pets. To donate, click here.

The German Animal Welfare Association operates a center in Odessa, Ukraine, where – despite ongoing attacks – employees are continuing to care for animals with special needs that are unable to be transported. Thanks to donations, the association was able to set up a base camp at the Polish border to assist refugees with pets. To donate, click here.

Four Paws operates the Bear Sanctuary Domazhyr, located in western Ukraine near Lviv, which is home to 29 bears who were rescued from horrible keeping conditions. Their dedicated team is staying in the area to continue to care for the bears. The shelter even welcomed seven more bears from another sanctuary near Kyiv. To donate, click here.

Casa Iui Patrocle is a shelter located in Suceava, Romania, which is close to the Ukrainian border (20 miles). The shelter is caring for all species of refugee animals – including farm animals – and finding solutions for housing, food and veterinary care for animals that are unable to stay with their owners. For pet owners who can bring their pets to their placements in other countries, the shelter is providing vaccinations, microchips and European Passports. The organization posts frequent updates to their Facebook. To donate, click here.

For more information on organizations and shelters helping animals in Ukraine, the EuroGroup For Animals compiled a list.

 

Give with Confidence

It can be difficult to navigate which humanitarian organizations to donate to in times of crisis. Websites like Charity Navigator and Give.org have compiled lists of verified, high-impact organizations with initiatives in Ukraine.

Charity Navigator’s list of credible charities includes organizations such as GlobalGiving, World Hope International and Save the Children.

Give.org’s created a list of BBB-accredited charities, including Direct Relief, International Rescue Committee and Heart to Heart International.

CharityWatch also compiled a list of efficient charities, as well as tips for making the most of your donation and avoiding charity frauds and scams.

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