In early 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, beginning a war that has displaced millions, caused billions of dollars in damages to buildings and infrastructure, upended Ukraine’s economy, and left millions at home lacking essentials. Thanks in part to your contributions, though, we’ve been able to help Ukrainians in need this year.
GreaterGood has contributed more than $1.14 million dollars to a variety of efforts in the war-torn country in 2022. This includes more than $436,000 within the first 30 days of the conflict. The money has helped fund the purchase of over 2,200 emergency winter relief kits with food and other essentials, 25,000 Ukrainian-made wool blankets to aid those without heat this winter, and more than 1,200 toys for Ukrainian children.
We’ve also been able to help distribute medical supplies needed by those on the front lines. The latter has saved lives directly.
GreaterGood CEO Tim Kunin says, “I was introduced to someone there, and their request was for nasopharyngeal tubes and tourniquet sets for the front. We took a while to source them. We got them through a medical supply firm in The Netherlands that we work with that Partners in Health had originally suggested to us. And those were finally distributed to them in September, and when I was there, my last trip, they sent back a note, which was from a combat medic from the group that actually liberated Kherson on November 11, to thank us for the combat tourniquets because he was using them, and to say that they’d saved lives.
“Frankly, I was floored by that. It’s not something that I would have expected that we would have been able to do. Certainly we don’t have the contacts to have been able to provide those. So, you know, when we provide food and when we provide blankets, we’re saving lives, but it’s not as immediate as when somebody’s putting a tourniquet on somebody who’s bleeding from a shrapnel wound, and that we’re able to help in that way.”
Another way GreaterGood has been able to help is by sourcing supplies like blankets, toys, and food, where possible, from Ukraine. This is in an effort to help bolster the country’s economy, which has suffered due to the war. To further aid Ukrainian businesses and creators, we’ve also purchased glass artisan ornaments crafted by Ukrainians to be sold in our stores.
Children have been heavily impacted by the war, as well, and we’ve taken part in an effort to bring them some smiles amid the conflict. Teaming up with charity partners Siobhan’s Trust and Greater Good Charities, we’ve helped bring pizza parties to kids heavily impacted by the war. This has often included up to 3,000 pizzas in one day and up to 100,000 in a month.
Kunin says of Siobhan’s Trust, “This is a group originally from Dundee, Scotland, that when the war started, decided that they would just drive a truck with pizza ovens in it to the border and start making pizzas by hand. And then they… got frozen pizzas and they bought some more trucks, including trucks funded by Greater Good Charities and by our donors. They bought frozen food trucks so that they could be able to keep the pizzas frozen, and they’ll drive a whole group of trucks to the newly-liberated areas and be there for three to four days and then go back to western Ukraine.”
This is an effort that Kunin says especially touched him.
He explains, “Some of the kids were from eastern Ukraine, they’re internally displaced, so that’s why they’re in western Ukraine now, and they had been in bunkers in the eastern part of Ukraine for weeks, or in some cases, longer, and all of a sudden they come back to being kids. These are kids who are, you know, their family’s displaced. They’re living in temporary shelter. Their fathers are principally in the army and so it’s, their whole world has changed and very quickly. And all of a sudden, they’re eating pizzas and dancing and eating ice cream.”
He adds, “It creates community and it creates normalcy. It’s not, but it also is. You know, there’s people who are food insecure. So there’s an awful lot of calories in a pizza, but this is something different than just a soup kitchen. It’s more of a celebration. I don’t know. I just hadn’t seen anything similar. I’d think it’s really impressive. And I think also it’s viable in many places because the technology is quite portable. These are propane pizza ovens that you can, modify a truck or van, put two or three of them in it and have fresh hot pizzas coming out every minute.”
This year, more than 100,000 individual donors have contributed to over 650 charitable programs like those aiding these Ukrainian kids in need. There’s more work to be done as we head into 2023, but thanks in part to you, we’ve been able to do a lot of good in 2022.
To learn about how you’ve helped shelter pets this year, click here!