Things constantly change and evolve
and we need to react quickly and adapt to those needs

 Our fund opened 2 days after the war  - here are some of our early efforts when the borders in Poland and Ukraine where flooded with refugees fleeing the war zones  

Poland Border Efforts
  • Calls are received by Viber from refugees to our team members in PA

  • Our team members direct refugees to what crossing to go to (avoiding high congested crossing points as some have lines over three days) - this changes daily.

  • Once they cross, Polish authorities can move refugees to a refugee center for processing - this is a temporary stopping point. 
  • We are no longer waiting at the border for refugees but requiring them to send us a google pinpoint to prove location and show that they are ready to be picked up. Our driver then picks them up from the refugee center and moves them to our camp housing (this is to avoid long wait times, last time, one of our drivers waited for 30 hours for one group.)

  • We place the refugees in temporary emergency housing - we have reserved full summer camps like the one pictured to the left; each room can hold a family of 10.

  • Refugees get spending cash of around $200-300 per family, depending on the size of the family; this allows them to go shopping, buy food, have an activity to get their mind off the current situation.

  • Then the process of finding permanent housing is started. All local volunteer groups, associations, and government programs are pursued to move refugees out and make room for new refugees at the camps. We are trying to limit families' stay in our emergency housing to a maximum of two weeks.  So far we have been able to distribute refugees quickly within days. 

  • The camps we are using are off-season, and we only have access to them till June. We all hope this ends soon...
Romania Border Efforts
  •  The South-Western part of Ukraine is still a safe haven, no immediate bombing has been reported in this area - many refugees are fleeing to this area and are choosing to still remain in Ukraine and or are using this as a temporary stopping point while trying to get across into Romania. 
  • This is the hometown of the Teleguz Family has many relatives in the area.
  • Our most significant need is to help refugees on the Ukrainian side help anyone stuck at the border camps and nearby villages/towns. Most border towns that have taken in refugees are low-income rural areas – they need humanitarian aid. Our teams are now making rounds and checking in with those villagers to see if they have needs supporting the refugees they have taken in.

  • Border Control points are overwhelmed and have created long lines that extend for 10 miles and beyond the border. We have set up volunteer tents with water, food, blankets, fire pits, hot tea and are serving everyone while they wait to get across. Our volunteers are walking through the long convoy lines and serving those in vehicles. People are afraid to leave the line, so they don’t miss their spot. 
  • Many of the refugees are international med students studying at Chernivtsi University – they are all camped at the border trying to get out and return home.

  • We have established volunteers, churches, contacts, and organizations in Romania to take care of refugees once they cross the border. We see great efforts being made available for refugees once they get through.

 

 

Path to Safety


In the last several days, we have been able to help 
many families across the border. Here is one of those families that have personal family relations or someone close to us within our Slavic Community in Lancaster County, Pa. They have all been placed into temporary housing in hostels & Camps. We are working hard on lining up permanent accommodations for every family.

One such family was separated at the border with her husband (Ukraine is not allowing men 18-60 to leave the country due to mobilization orders). Their vehicle was turned around, and she and her two teenage kids continued on foot while her husband drove back. As you can imagine, with the war raging, separation from her husband was incredibly traumatic to both of them as they don’t know if they’ll ever reconnect. The border is often the scene of such dramatic tearful farewells right now. We spend quite a bit of time on the phone supporting and praying for people, besides helping them with housing. 

As this family was crossing over, they connected with another family of strangers. When they found out they had arrangements, they asked if they could join them.

This is a group picture from today. After being settled and having had a hot meal in the camp's cafeteria, our hearts are touched that through our efforts, we have been able to get this group out to safety.

We want to help many more people like this, and our personal resources and current fund capacity can only go so far. We are accommodating people in Poland in two steps: temporary stay in hotels/hostels, followed by more long term (and much cheaper) stay with families or apartments. The first step is the most financially intensive, so we began to immediately work on the following housing step as soon as the first family arrived. The various government resources are also being opened up, so we don’t foresee long-term housing needing sponsorship of families at this point. Also, for families with relatives here in the US, we count on US-based relatives to pick up the cost of supporting their loved ones (which they are).

Please continue sharing, and we thank everyone for the support provided so far!

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Donations
All donations will be tax-deductible - 100% of your donations will go directly to help refugees. 

    

Contact us if you would like to learn more about the fund and or how you can help


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