Next month, the war in Ukraine will have been going on for two full years, forever changing the lives of millions of Ukrainians. According to the UN Refugee Agency, in addition to 6.2 million people fleeing the country for safety, 5.1 million are internally displaced within Ukraine and many other residents are living in damaged homes or buildings that lack access to water, electricity, and heating. In all, 17.6 million Ukrainians were estimated to be in need of humanitarian aid in 2023. With your help, we’ve been responding where we can, and a family that’s received that aid has shared their harrowing story with us.
To help those who’ve remained at home and lack heat or other essentials the past two winters, we’ve donated more than 46,000 winter relief kits. The kits include warm socks, fleece jackets, hygiene items, ingredients to make 80 meals, and even food for pets.
A volunteer in war-torn Avdiivka, where residents have received kits, took photos and video of recipients, and they received this email about two women in some of the footage:
“Good afternoon, this woman in the photo and video in Avdiivka is my mother Evdokia and her sister Zina. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see them again. I haven’t heard from them since February of this year. Every time I persuade her to leave, but she refuses. She doesn’t want to talk about leaving, and started getting nervous when my sister and I tried to persuade her. She is intimidated by rumors that her passport and documents will be taken away from her, that she will live in camps. A year ago, my father died there. I thought my mother would leave after that. But no. A few months ago, a bomb flew into this house and the apartment burned down, but even that did not motivate her to leave. If you are ever there again, please tell her that her son Yuriy and her daughter Olya miss her very much and beg her to leave. I have an apartment near Kyiv that is waiting for them. There is a small cozy town where everything is nearby. My wife can come and help them there settle down or we can help and that’s it pay with departure abroad until Moldova, or anywhere. Her three-year-old granddaughter Maya really wants to have her grandmother, who is the only one she has left.”
In addition to these elderly sisters, you’ve helped distribute blankets to others, including through your purchases. Our Buy 1, Give 1 campaign both supports the Ukrainians who manufacture the blankets and ensures another blanket is distributed to someone in need in Ukraine. In all, 40,000 blankets for adults and 12,000 baby blankets have been donated so far. They’re made of warm wool, which helps absorb moisture to retain more heat. This is extra helpful for outdoor shelters and for nights that can dip to -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pets have benefitted from these blankets, as well, along with more than 4 million bowls of donated food. These distributions have helped both pet owners who have stayed and need help, as well as the shelters and volunteers caring for pets that were left when their owners had to make the heartbreaking decision to flee.
These stories wouldn’t be possible without you. Thank you! If you’d like help distribute more winter kits, click below!