Ukraine Emergency Appeal

On February 24, 2022, the Russian military attacked Ukraine. According to UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, some 15 million people have been forcibly displaced, 8 million within Ukraine (IDPs) and 7 outside (refugees), making it the most rapid and largest single increase in forcibly displaced populations since WWII.

Hungarian Interchurch Aid and FinnChurchAid making a distribution to a refugee shelter in Lviv. The cargo included food items such as bread, canned meat, snacks and tea along with diapers for babies. Permission was granted for the use of photos and stories.

As of July 21, the United Church of Churches had sent $210,660 to assist Ukrainians, which includes $50,000 sent in May to the ACT Alliance. More than 4,700 donors had supported the appeal as of May 31, raising $2,192,000.

The UCC is considering requests for funds and stewarding donations carefully, given the protracted crisis and the certainty of the need for support in a years-long recovery once the war ends. 

“The situation is very fluid and immediate needs will continue to emerge, thus the intentionality for ensuring that UCC funding support remains steady and flexible,” said the Rev. Joshua Baird, Global H.O.P.E. team leader in the UCC’s Wider Church Ministries. “We know that by working together we can collectively have a stronger impact and response.” 

Recent relief

The largest amount sent recently, $75,000 to the ACT Alliance, will support partners in the ecumenical collaborative. That grant, along with the $50,000 sent in May, helps undergird an expanding spectrum of services including food, shelter, medical care, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), spiritual and psychological care, protection and more, especially in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary and Romania. 

Reception center in Hungary for refugees from Ukraine. Hungarian Interchurch Aid photo, used with permission.

Another recent disbursement of $12,000 will provide one month of solidarity support to the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, in Ukraine’s west, through a Global Ministries partner, the Reformed Church in Hungary. It has seen 30 percent of its 65,000 members flee the violence, yet most pastors and church leaders remain, housing 5,500 displaced people in the church’s boarding schools, kindergartens, diaconal and social institutions, parish halls and community centers. 

The church’s bakery gives a portion of the 500 loaves of bread baked daily to the refugee work and the rest to area residents. Three times a week, twice the usual amount is baked and then driven to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, along with durable food and hygiene products, to relieve the regions hit by the war. 

Many kinds of help

Here are stories of other UCC grants: 

  • $10,000 is designated for L’Arche International in support of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families inside Ukraine (in Lviv and Ternopil) and in Lithuania and Poland, for daily needs assistance, technology, transportation, and staff support.
  • $13,660 has been sent to the Evangelical Church in Greece. Increasing numbers of refugees from Ukraine are going to Greece. The UCC is “adopting” an apartment secured by the Evangelical Church of Greece (Perichoresis in Greek), a Global Ministries partner. In this “holistic accommodation” program for Ukrainian refugees, the $13,660 covers six months’ rent and support services, including needs related to food, water, sanitation, hygiene, medical care, language lessons, computer and sewing lessons, psychosocial support for children and families, and ongoing needs assessment. 
  • $25,000 to International Orthodox Christian Charities will support refugees, IDPs and host families in Ukraine, Poland and Romania with a full spectrum of services including food, shelter, medical care, WASH, spiritual and psychosocial care, transport to shopping and essential services, and more. In Poland, Polish Orthodox Church monasteries, parishes, school dormitories and senior residential care facilities are providing temporary refugee accommodation. 
  • $25,000 to Church World Service will enable response via two newly identified partners in Moldova for meeting refugee needs such as shelter, food, medical, transportation assistance, spiritual and psychological care, and protection against gender-based violence and trafficking.

“Thanks to the generous and ongoing support for the Ukraine appeal, the United Church of Christ has the capacity to continue our engagement and support as the response evolves, including as refugees and internally displaced persons transition toward more permanent solutions or return home and begin to rebuild, when that time comes,” Baird said. 

“Our commitment is to continue to support the humanitarian response and especially the faith-based, ecumenical community which is necessarily working together in response and through recovery.”

Updates in UCC News and UCC Disaster Updates

May 4, 2022 – Family’s journey just one example of how Ukraine relief gifts help
April 7, 2022 – UCC appeal tops 1 million to help Ukrainians find safety inside and away from their country
February 24, 2022 – UCC officers share prayer for Ukraine
February 24, 2022 – SWC Conference Minister mourns ‘the trauma of war’ in Ukraine
March 1, 2022 – UCC issues appeal for Ukraine, calls on U.S. to provide humanitarian aid
March 15, 2022 – Massachusetts congregation bakes for Ukraine
March 19, 2022 – As concern for Ukraine grows, so do donations and prayers
March 24, 2022 – Church leaders mourn Russian invasion of Ukraine, urge de-escalation
March 24, 2022 – UCC minister: Illinois church supports Ukraine appeal on behalf of one of its own
March 28, 2022 – UCC appeal helps provide safe spaces for Ukraine women and children
March 30, 2022 – UCC churches ‘stand for peace until there is peace’ in Ukraine
April 7, 2022 – UCC appeal tops $1 million to help Ukrainians find safety, inside and away from their country

All donations will be deposited into the International Disasters fund designated for “Ukraine Relief.” Your generous financial support will be used by our partners in the areas of greatest need. One can also mail a check made payable to the United Church of Christ PO BOX 71957 Cleveland, OH 44194. Please be sure to note “Ukraine Relief Fund” on your check in the memo section.

UCC officers share prayer for Ukraine – United Church of Christ

Banner photo: Arrival of Ukrainian refugees at the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing Medyka. Here the refugees are provided with warm food and clothing. From here, they are transferred by bus to major cities and collective shelters. Photo copyright Christoph Püschner/Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, used with permission.

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