In late February of 2022, the world watched in shock as Russia launched an unwarranted invasion of Ukraine. The images and stories we have heard over the last six months–and continue to hear–are heartbreaking. Hospitals have been ruthlessly bombed, infrastructure has been destroyed, families have been torn apart and millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee the only home they have ever known.
Despite the devastating news, however, you have not allowed sadness and shock to freeze you. Instead, you stepped up and allowed us to mobilize and discover how we could do our part to provide support and relief to Ukrainians. Thankfully, due to decades of your support, the structures we needed to act were already in place. Led by compassion, we got to work.
Six months into the war, we are reflecting on what your support and desire to act are allowing us to do.
1.) You’re helping Ukrainian refugee families—and the families hosting them—put food on their tables.
Refugee families often flee with little notice and even fewer supplies, so getting groceries in their new home can be a challenge. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees are now living in neighboring Moldova, and many are staying with Moldovan families. This can also strain household grocery budgets among host families. That’s why we’re making sure newly-arrived refugees and local communities have access to food. In Chisinau, we partnered with a local food bank and donated a forklift to facilitate the work being done by volunteers, shipping food out to local organizations across the city that were suddenly serving refugee clients. Through our ongoing food distribution program in Balti, thousands have been able to fill their pantries with the food they need and have one less thing to worry about.
Scroll through the photos below to see a recent day of food distribution in Balti!
2. ) You’re helping Ukrainian refugee children stay in school.
As Ukrainian refugee children were forced to abandon so many aspects of their lives, we made sure education was not one of them. Along with our local partner Diaconia, we donated brand new school supplies to hundreds of refugee children. We also converted a container into an education center: a space used for learning, playing and just being a kid. Through your donations, we have filled the hub with computers, books, beanbags and games, and created a friendly place for kids to relax or join remote learning programs. To learn more, check out our story “A Friendly Space to Be a Kid” and our blog “Welcoming Ukrainian Refugees Like Viktoriia in Moldova”.
3. ) You’ve upgraded a Refugee Accommodation Center.
Despite being one of the poorest countries in Europe, Moldova has generously opened its doors to tens of thousands of Ukrainians. Many of these Ukrainians have been welcomed into official Refugee Accommodation Centers. Through your support, we have partnered with one of these centers to maximize their capacity to house Ukrainian families. With our longtime partner, Ormax, we installed solar panels for a RAC in Soroca. These panels have made energy far more affordable and accessible, freeing up funds to meet other needs. We have also equipped this RAC with the supplies they need, including commercial kitchen equipment, kitchen supplies, bedding and other necessities. After we outfitted the kitchen at the center where they have been staying, Julia and other guests could request specific own meals. She and her two sons discovered a sense of home by being able to enjoy their favorite food (read Julia’s story here!).
4. ) You’re making sure that Roma refugees are included in humanitarian response efforts.
In various countries in Europe, including Ukraine, people from the Roma ethnic group are among the most marginalized in their societies. Unfortunately, Ukrainian refugees who are part of the Roma community have continued to experience inequalities as they seek safety. Using our experience and expertise from our Roma programs in Serbia, we are making sure Roma families in Moldova are not left behind. Through local partnership, we are connecting with Ukrainian Roma refugees and providing them with resources like food, hygiene materials, mattresses, clothing, kitchen equipment and legal help. With your support, we are making sure all of Moldova’s newest neighbors are supported, and no one is invisible to the system.
5. ) You’ve put CWS Kits and Blankets into refugee families’ hands.
Throughout our history, faithful CWS supporters have stepped up when help is most needed through our CWS Kits and Blankets programs. Through donations and countless hours by volunteers constructing kits, we have been able to ship 2,000 CWS Blankets, 1,200 School Kits and 12,000 Hygiene Kits to Ukrainian refugees. As these kits and blankets reach the hands of Ukrainians, we can trust that the love and care put into them will be known by those receiving them.
In times of darkness, your support became a light that allowed CWS to act. In the place of destruction, together we strengthened communities. In the place of anguish, together we created spaces for joy and relief. And in the place of devastation, together we have allowed hope to be renewed.
We invite you to continue joining us in our work and inspiring hope by donating here.