Local organizations are doing their part to help Ukrainian refugees

Local organizations, including Christian Aid Ministries and the Mennonite Central Committee, are doing what they can to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees in war-torn Ukraine and surrounding countries.

Other organizations, such as Catholic charities, are headquartered in Cuyahoga County, so local relief efforts are channeled through national offices.

More:The war in Ukraine is creating more uncertainty for Ohio farmers as gas, grain and fertilizer costs rise

Headquartered in Berlin, Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) has had a presence in Ukraine since 2001 and has many connections to churches and other contacts across the country. Requests for help continue to come in, according to CAM spokesman Weston Showalter.

Showalter explained that CAM’s American personnel were evacuated prior to the military invasion. You are in daily contact with Ukrainian national staff. Together they work with churches to organize humanitarian aid shipments for displaced Ukrainians.

The biggest craze is for food, he said. They are also working to provide Christian literature to displaced Ukrainians in the western part of the country.

“We also work with partner groups to help refugees in various countries around Ukraine,” Showalter added.

Christian Aid Ministries workers help refugees in Romania

Staff in Romania are working to help and accommodate refugees arriving in Romania and Moldova. They buy food and other supplies to send to Ukraine’s war zone. They plan to provide blankets, hygiene kits, adult briefs, canned meat and bedding.

Many Ukrainian refugees are fleeing to Moldova, an impoverished border country with Ukraine. Given the added burden this influx of refugees is putting on an already needy people, CAM is doing what it can to help.

“Even though our Ukrainian workers have been displaced themselves, they have a strong desire to help those in need,” Showalter said. “They work to buy food for displaced people and find ways to safely distribute aid. Food is becoming scarce, especially in areas near the fighting.

“We are working to deliver Bibles, Bible story books and Christian literature in Ukraine and to Ukrainian refugees in other countries,” he added. “Our desire is to encourage suffering Christians and point others to God during this trying time.”

CAM asks for continued prayers for the people of Ukraine.

Mennonite Central Committee accepts donations for Ukraine

Jennifer Steiner, MCC Great Lakes communications coordinator, reports that MCC is accepting donations for an outreach in Ukraine. The Mennonite Central Committee is headquartered in Goshen, Indiana, but has local offices in Kidron at the MCC Material Resources Center and the MCC Connections Thrift Shop.

“We are assessing the changing situation with local partners to determine the appropriate response,” she said. “MCC’s response will focus on a longer-term expansion of existing programs to support vulnerable people and extending these services to internally displaced people.

“It will likely include psychosocial support and trauma healing, temporary shelters, emergency distributions of locally purchased emergency supplies such as blankets, and distribution of food parcels,” Steiner continued. “MCC also plans to resume shipments of material resources once conditions in the country are stable enough.”

MCC’s local partners, mainly in the southern and central areas of Ukraine, have started distributing food and other supplies such as diapers, fuel, medicine and mattresses to those in need in their communities. These partners respond generously and creatively, even though basic supplies are very limited.

Mennonite Central Committee partners, the Independent Governing Churches in Kharkiv, are evacuating a resident of Kharkiv and putting him up at a local Christian school and at the House of Hope, a retirement home in their community, 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Kharkiv.

The best way for people to respond is through financial donations at: donate.mcc.org/ukraine.

MCC partners in Ukraine address ‘essential and immediate needs’

Linda Herr, MCC Area Manager for Europe and the Middle East, reports that MCC partners in Ukraine meet “basic and immediate needs on the ground” where they are located.

“We’re seeing a very local reaction,” Herr said in a press release. “They bring mattresses to people who sleep in basements or stairwells that serve as makeshift bomb shelters. They set up rooms in schools that offer shelter to people fleeing. Partners also provide fuel for vehicles and food for families en route to other, safer parts of the country.”

With ports blocked by Russian forces and no air access, Ukraine has struggled to get supplies. MCC partners focus on what they can do in the moment, buying what they can find and transporting supplies in all available vehicles.

While MCC partners find creative ways to provide emergency relief, they also work with MCC to plan mid- and long-term responses to the devastation. Future projects are likely to meet needs in the areas of food, shelter and trauma care, particularly for those displaced by violence.

“It’s humbling to stand between the people who want to give and the people who see the need, who are trying to get resources into people’s hands,” Herr added. “But the partners, the people of Ukraine, tell me that they are tired. So many people have left and there is still so much to do for those who remain.

“Please pray for the people here. Every minute this conflict continues, the humanitarian impact is getting worse,” she continued. “Pray for peace. And pray that our partners will continue to have the strength to continue their good work.”

Steiner said many churches and individuals in Northeast Ohio support MCC by donating financially to MCC, volunteering, or shopping at MCC Connections (the MCC Thrift Shop in Kidron) and purchasing kits and comforters through the MCC Material Resources Center in Kidron donate.

The Red Cross helps families affected by the Ukraine-Russia conflict

As fighting in Ukraine intensifies, the Red Cross’s global network is helping families affected by the conflict, according to Cleveland-based Regional Communications Director Jim McIntyre.

International Red Cross teams help in a variety of ways, such as: B. Delivery of food and hygiene packages to displaced families; Providing first aid training to thousands of people sheltering in subway stations and air raid shelters in Ukraine, McIntyre said.

Teams help evacuate people with disabilities and assist first responders to save lives in Ukraine.

They distribute food, water, first aid supplies, fuel for heating and medical supplies.

The Red Cross is also providing those who have fled the country with SIM cards for their cell phones so they can keep in touch with loved ones.

Volunteers in Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Belarus, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Bosnia and Herzegovina work around the clock to provide food, water, bedding, clothing and emergency supplies, medical supplies to people fleeing Ukraine and psychological support and seeking safety in neighboring countries, McIntyre added.

“For its part, the American Red Cross has deployed international crisis workers to Poland, Moldova, Hungary and Romania to provide humanitarian assistance in support of the international Red Cross operation, which helps families who have fled their homes,” McIntyre said. “These highly trained crisis responders – who impart skills such as information management, GIS systems, cash assistance, communications and leadership – support relief efforts on the ground alongside local teams including the Polish Red Cross, Moldovan Red Cross and Romanian Red Cross.”

He added that as part of its work supporting military families, the American Red Cross has deployed trained personnel to Europe to support the emergency communications needs of US service members so they can stay in touch with family members back home.

The Red Cross Hero Care Network is a Congress-chartered program that connects service members and their families in times of need. Red Crossers are also distributing convenience kits containing toiletries and other necessities to military members and U.S. State Department employees.

Catholic charities discuss aid efforts for Ukraine

Sheryl Villegas, site manager for the Catholic charity Wooster, said senior leaders in Cuyahoga County are meeting to discuss relief efforts.

As part of the Diocese of Cleveland, the Catholic charity is headquartered in Cuyahoga County

“We have our migration and refugee services through Cuyahoga County, and those services may be available to us as well,” Villegas said. “We don’t typically settle many refugees and immigrants in Wayne County. In order to have a resettlement, you have to have a community where people feel comfortable. You have the Ukrainian community in Parma.

“The Migration and Refugee Service is not yet settling Ukrainian refugees who fled Ukraine due to the war,” she added. “We are awaiting updates from the State Department to see when they may come. In the meantime, we ask people to donate to Catholic charities.”

0CRS is on site in Europe and helps Ukrainians in need. The link is: https://support.crs.org/donate/donate-ukraine.

Habitat for Humanity is another local charity with a global reach. Locally, Nikki Nemerovsky of Wooster Habitat for Humanity reports no local efforts as they also work in larger cities like Cleveland for international projects.

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