Marina left Odessa, Ukraine, with her two young children and her third child due in just a couple months. One of nearly 6 million refugees from the war in Ukraine, Marina had no idea what life would look like in a new country.
A safe home for a growing family
She and her children were among the more than 452,000 refugees to enter the small neighboring country of Moldova, and they were instantly greeted by the generous spirit of the local people. Through the help of Catholic Relief Services and its local partner organization, Caritas Moldova, Marina and her growing family are living with a host family in Moldova. She reflects that from the day of her family’s arrival, the kindness of the Moldovan people has brought tears to her eyes.
Caregiver donations surge past fundraising goal
Soon after the invasion of Ukraine began, Providence joined with CRS to assist the huge numbers of displaced Ukrainians.
In March 2022, the St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund provided a $150,000 fundraising match, inviting voluntary donations by Providence caregivers for relief efforts in Ukraine. Concerned caregivers quickly exceeded the match limit and raised $183,872, resulting in more than $383,800 sent to support emergency aid for the people of Ukraine. This generosity, combined with the private donations of many others, has enabled CRS and Caritas Moldova to supply nearly $9 million in cash-like vouchers to nearly 40,000 refugees and cash aid to more than 800 Moldovan host families by the end of May.
Putting needed resources in the right hands
Requests for all kinds of aid continue to flow in. The St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund relies on its community network to request specific items so that the best available resources are in the right place. The fund works to strengthen on-the-ground relief work and ensure local goals are met and people are served at their point of need.
The fund provides various kinds of short-term emergency support while also looking at long-term strategies for community capacity and rebuilding. This means that the fund is providing immediate resources in Ukraine as the conflict continues, and at the same time is engaged, where possible, with local decision-makers on future planning.
Providing more than a temporary home
When the refugees’ immediate needs for safety and housing have been met, they must still cope with the trauma of fleeing their homes, and for many, leaving family behind to help defend their country. The Caritas Fides Center is providing Ukrainian refugees with a safe place to spend time and receive emotional counseling and support, along with hot meals, social services and children’s activities. The center’s social workers recognize the importance of supporting not only the physical, but emotional well-being of each person.
Another longer-term consideration is where and how children who have fled Ukraine, and those still living at home, will continue with school in the fall. Resources needed include devices to join classrooms virtually, school supplies and funding for schools to enroll more children. While this is the tip of the iceberg, CRS is ready to continue its support.
Sending lifesaving medical equipment and supplies
Monetary donations are not the only way that Providence is helping those in need. Providence has one of the only in-house, non-profit medical supply recovery operations in the country. The MSRO collects usable surplus medical supplies and donates them to local and international organizations and facilities in need. This sustainable practice is one way that Providence is reducing waste while providing lifesaving help. Each year, the Providence MSRO donates many tons of supplies here in the U.S. and around the world.
During 2022, the Providence MRSO has made regular deliveries of supplies to our partner, Medical Teams International, which is on the ground in Ukraine and Moldova.
“Providence MSRO has been a big contributor to the supplies we have sent – to date, we’ve received 15 tons of mixed unexpired medical supplies, consumables and personal protective equipment."
- Jonathan Spence, senior director, logistics and procurement at Medical Teams International
"Our local partners in Ukraine are working alongside small local churches, hospitals and more recently the Ministry of Health to ensure all of these provisions are reaching those who need them most. We are very grateful for our partnership with Providence, and the positive impact it has around the world,” Jonathan Spence, senior director, logistics and procurement at Medical Teams says.
A Health for a Better World story, about serving with our local partners to build community resilience.
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