Our friend Fr. Yuriy Kolasa sent photos illustrating what your donations are doing for Ukrainians.
Through Amicitiae, the Aquinas Institute sent over $40,000 to support refugee families who have fled to western Ukraine from eastern Ukraine, where the fighting is most intense. Fr. Kolasa has been distributing the money where he sees the most need. Below are some pictures and examples of the state of things in August. A lot has changed since then, and it has only gotten worse.
With the help of your donations, Fr. Roman Syrotich of Caritas Kyiv has brought food boxes and bags of necessities to people in Kyiv who have lost their homes to the heavy shelling.
In July, Fr. Yuriy met the bishop of Kharkiv, Ukraineâ€™s second largest city and a major industrial center. Bishop Vasyl Tuchapetz related many stories of how your donations are helping the suffering people of his diocese. The industrial area of Kharkiv had been shelled relentlessly all summer. Hundreds of apartment buildings have been destroyed, leaving thousands of Ukrainians homeless.
The bishop himself had been living in his church since his apartment building, like hundreds of others, had lost its windows in a bombing blast. He joked that he had acquired a new nickname, â€œthe bishop without windows.â€ Concerned about the coming Ukrainian winter, Bishop Tuchapetz had been pouring efforts into replacing apartment windows wherever possible, while recognizing that collecting warm clothes, sleeping bags, and medications would be the only hope for many his flock.
That fierce winter is now upon the people of Ukraine, and the war continues. Russian forces have taken out power plants so that civilians have no electricity or heat. Friends in Lviv tell us that the electricity comes on for 2 hours twice a day. As you can see from Fr. Romanâ€™s photos, many of those devastated by the war are the elderly.
Fr. Yuriy hopes to mobilize young people to go into apartment buildings to find the elderly and disabled who have no one to care for them.
We were talking with some Ukrainian refugees in the US recently, and they lamented that a disproportionate amount of the international aid flowing into Ukraine will actually reach the people who need it. We cannot fix that larger problem, but we can still give to individuals directly, and our efforts are already helping.
If you can, please give! We will continue sending donations directly to people in need, and the Aquinas Institute will pay for the transfer and exchange fees so that everything you donate will go directly to necessities.