Through an incredible outpouring of support by donors, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has raised $8.8 million to respond to the needs of the people of Ukraine.
These donations have empowered MCC’s local partners to provide life-saving emergency support since day one of this conflict. They’ve provided shelter for people fleeing for safety, brought food to sick and elderly people who cannot leave their homes and fueled vehicles ferrying vulnerable people to safety.
June 3 marked 100 days since the Russian military invasion of Ukraine began. In that time, MCC has allocated $2.1 million through partners in-country, reaching approximately 16,000 people with emergency food, cash assistance, hygiene items, shelter or other forms of relief. MCC also is shipping five containers of emergency supplies, including comforters, canned meat and relief kits, to Ukraine. They are expected to arrive in July.
Many of MCC’s partners in Ukraine have continued their incredible work despite the dangerous reality of caring for people during a war. Pavel* is the director of MCC partner Kharkiv Independent Evangelical Christian Baptist Churches (KECB) in Kharkiv. He says MCC’s support has allowed them to keep their kitchens running for more than three months.
“Those who do not have enough food or have run out of money to buy the food, they are coming to [KECB] and we serve food to them,” Pavel says. “We are preparing food every day—you have given to our hands something that we can provide to other people.”
As the months progressed, MCC’s planning with its partners in Ukraine reshaped itself as the situations on the ground changed. Early plans that prioritized quick response are evolving as logistical challenges like transportation are being assessed and addressed. While the needs are as immediate as in the first days, MCC and its partners also now are considering how to meet those needs over a prolonged conflict.
Bruce Guenther, MCC’s disaster response director, says MCC is equipped well to respond to both the urgent and persisting needs in a situation like this.
“MCC has been responding to the conflict in eastern Ukraine since it began in 2014,” he says. “So, while this invasion represents an intensification of that conflict, our response has been ongoing. While we need to plan for rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, this conflict is likely to continue for some time. Our immediate focus is to ensure that we continue to support our partners in meeting basic needs including food, safe shelter and trauma care for vulnerable families.”
Linda Herr is MCC’s area director for Europe and the Middle East with her husband James Wheeler. She says the generosity of MCC donors is appreciated more than she can truly express.
“To see so many people offer their support to the people of Ukraine and to be in a position to see and hear how it’s directly making a difference in the lives of people who need it — I’m humbled. Thank you, sincerely, to every one of you who donated or in another way supported MCC’s work in Ukraine.”
*Some last names have been omitted for security purposes.
Jason Dueck is a communications specialist from Winnipeg, Man.