Arianna and her parents are three of an estimated 6.2 million Ukrainians who have fled their country, mostly women and children. It’s the worst refugee crisis in Europe since WWII.
And it’s far from over, despite less media attention. In some ways, it’s getting worse. “What worries me so much is that the crisis is going to get worse as winter comes,” explains Kristy Scoot, CEO of Children’s Food Fund/World Emergency Relief (CFC #10984).
Since March, CFF/WER has delivered more than $11 million in desperately needed relief supplies to help refugee children, families and the elderly, in Poland and Moldova as well as internally-displaced people in Ukraine. This has included food, hygiene products and household items, such as mattresses. In Ukraine, it has included water filtration equipment for families starting to rebuild their homes, the same type of help CFF/WER provides to communities in many other parts of the world.
It has also provided gifts for children, such as the paint set Arianna is holding. The gifts for children have special meaning, says the person delivering the aid and documenting Ukrainians’ struggles. “As we talked with Maryana, her children took apart the packages we brought and just jumped for happiness and screamed for joy,” recounted the person delivering aid and documenting Ukrainians’ stories. “Such moments are simply priceless.”
The trauma young Ukrainian children have experienced is profound. Vika remembered how her granddaughter came into their room when the bombing began saying, “Mom, the war has started.” Vika said she and her daughter “didn’t close our eyes for three nights, not for a second. Our granddaughter endured it very hard. Now she has such stress, with health problems.”
CFF/WER has been helping people in need – around the world and in Native American communities in the U.S. -- for more than 35 years. It works with on-the-ground partners in each community, which helps keep its overhead very low: just 3.3% in 2021.
Its experience and connections allow it to move quickly when crises arrive, as they did in Ukraine. It also works with communities for years, helping them rebuild or become more self-reliant.
“The impact of crises like Ukraine will be felt for years,” explains Scott. “We know that meeting people’s immediate needs is critical, but so too is staying with these people over time, to help them recover and eventually thrive.”