As Russian forces advance to central Ukraine, volunteers commence rebuilding homes ravaged by war and churches continuously provide necessary aid for their daily sustenance.
Churches In Aid Of War-Stricken Ukrainians
The Whitman Hanson Express reported that Christian relief agency Samaritan's Purse will be holding a fundraiser on June 25 entitled, "Love Ukraine," in partnership with the United Nations High Council on Refugees.
Samaritan's Purse hired the First Congregational Church in Hanson, Massachusetts to be its Disaster Assistance Relief Team and presenter of the fundraising event. Samaritan's Purse is operating a vast relief distribution in Ukraine along with some mobile medical units and an Emergency Medical Field Hospital and transitioning housing.
First Congregational Church-Hanson Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Peter Smith, who worked with the Ukraine-based International School Project in 1995, said his role is to be deployed in the war-stricken nation for a maximum of one month to coordinate with several relief agencies. Smith said it was good that he still had the names and addresses of the teachers he worked with for ISP and this would be useful in his upcoming task. The pastor said he is also thankful his church supports his endeavor.
"The Trustees and Deacons of the church were very open to my using scheduled sabbatical time to be part of a response to the greatest refugee crisis since World War II," Smith said.
According to the Church of the Brethren, several grants were released by the end of May as part of their ongoing efforts to help vulnerable communities in Ukraine that are not receiving international assistance. The church has received a total of $222,000 in donations for Ukraine through its Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM). The donations will be received as grants by organizations based in Ukraine to "fulfill donor intent and become a large part of the Church of the Brethren response to this crisis."
In particular, the Church World Service (CWS) received a $100,000 grant from BDM to care for Ukrainian refugees who fled to Moldova. BDM understands that "the burden of caring for refugees is increasingly evident" in the face of Moldova's extraordinary generosity despite being one of Europe's poorest countries. CWS provides humanitarian assistance including food, shelter, asylum, and safe movement.
The Church of the Brethren also provided a $25,000 grant to L'Arche International, which attends to Ukrainian refugees in Lithuania and Poland, as well as, those displaced internally. The Child Life Disaster Relief, on the other hand, received a $5,000 grant for an orphanage in Chernivtsi, Ukraine.
BDM partnered with the Child Life Disaster Relief' Children's Disaster Services for this grant, which has 27 children as benefactors. Half of these children were orphaned because of the Russian invasion that started last February. The Church of the Brethren revealed that the Ohio State University informed them of the Ukrainian government officials request to provide specialized services to the orphanage's staff and children, who were traumatized by the war. The grant then will help the children and staff through a six-week program involving coping sessions and virtual training.
Ukrainians Rebuilding Their Lives
Relief services for Ukrainian refugees is also the focus of Lakeside Baptist Church's partnership with Kosice Baptist Church, in Slovakia. Kosice Baptist aids Ukrainian refugees in finding long-term accommodations and in rebuilding their lives. The church and its members currently house more than 30 refugees, who are also provided with food, comfort, and daily needs.
The Rocky Mount Telegram reported that a total of $18,000 was received by the Kosice mission site from the Lakeside Baptist Church and its community.
As churches continue with their humanitarian efforts, CNN reported that volunteers are beginning to rebuild homes for Ukrainians in Kyiv, which Russians have left in devastation in early April as they headed eastward with their military plans.
District 1, a charity organization spearheading the rebuilding of homes in Ukraine, has begun working through the mounds of the rubble of an apartment building on the outskirts of Kyiv. The organization previously announced on social media its need for volunteers for the cleanup and found hundreds signing up in a matter of days. Part of the organization's project is a six-story residential building in the village of Myla, a suburb of Kyiv.
Though many fear that the peace is temporary, Kyiv's 4 million residents are slowly coming back. The height of the war has pushed 3 million residents to flee elsewhere. District 1 Co-Founder Andriy Kopylenko told CNN that despite the lack of security that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not launch another assault on Kyiv, they have to face the truth that they "need to live."