Alabamians can still help displaced Ukrainian refugees despite an ocean between the two. 

The continued hostilities in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion have caused many Ukrainian citizens to flee the country.  Some estimates have placed the number as high as one-million citizens who have fled various war-torn areas. Continued bombing of the various regions in Ukraine, combined with military forces invading key cities, has made homes uninhabitable for scores of native Ukrainians. 

Luckily for the displaced refugees, U.S based organizations have risen to the occasion and begun sending aid overseas.

United Way

United Way of Central Alabama has also created a fund to provide relief in Ukraine. 

The United for Ukraine fund was formed to provide for the long-term and immediate needs of the displaced. United Way’s global partners use the funds to provide transportation, accommodations, food, medicine, hygiene kits, childcare supplies, infant formula, and more to Ukrainian refugees.   

United Way partners with vetted organizations to provide relief, including United Way Romania, United Way Hungary, and Fundacja Dobrych Inicjatyw (Good Initiatives Foundation) in Poland, with additional partners being added as an understanding grows of the particular needs of displaced peoples.  

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army (SA), which has operated in Ukraine and surrounding areas for some time, has been distributing food, water, clothes, and other supplies to the now-evacuated families.

Wherever safe, The Salvation Army officers have pivoted programs to provide food, clothes, blankets, and emotional and spiritual care to those displaced from their homes and who are seeking refuge. 

According to Cyrondys Jackson, Communications Manager for The Salvation Army Greater Birmingham Area Command, officers and employees in bordering countries have done an about-face to address the massive influx of displaced Ukrainians. 

“We are helping with folks who are refugees, helping to facilitate safe passage to other areas, especially if they have families in those other countries,” Jackson said.

The Salvation Army currently operates out of Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Slovakia.

“Where it’s safe to serve, we have Salvation Army officers that are pivoting their programs to provide just the basic essentials like food, clothing, blankets, as well as emotional and spiritual care for the people who may have been displaced," said Jackson. "Those are the immediate response needs that we are meeting during this crisis."

The Salvation Army has launched a massive effort to fund the individual corps operating in the seven countries, and 100% of donations go to providing the aforementioned relief supplies for displaced Ukrainians. 

“It’s not only just the basic needs of, ‘let me give you some food,’ but those officers may actually pray with those individuals or be a listening ear,” Jackson said. “These events are very traumatic. Not only the event as it’s going on, but the trauma continues much longer as that person is moving through it and once they have gotten to a safe space. We are only hearing what people are seeing, and that is a lot of chaos and a lot of confusion, but our focus is to just meet those needs and be a help to the people there.”

The Salvation Army World Service Office is continuing to take donations for the relief in Ukraine, as well as providing pictures and videos of relief efforts.

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