Mennonite Central Committee has raised $8.8 million to respond to the needs of the people of Ukraine. It is assessing how to use these resources as the war with Russia continues.
Those donations have empowered MCC’s local partners to provide life-saving emergency support. 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.
By June 3, in the war’s first 100 days, MCC allocated $2.1 million through Ukrainian partner organizations, reaching about 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 work despite the dangers of caring for people during a war.
Pavel, whose last name is not used for security purposes, is director of MCC partner Kharkiv Independent Evangelical Christian Baptist Churches in Kharkiv. MCC’s support allowed KECB to keep its kitchens running for more than three months.
“Those who do not have enough food or have run out of money to buy the food are coming to [KECB], and we serve food to them,” he said. “We are preparing food every day. You have given to our hands something that we can provide to other people.”
As the last few months progressed, MCC’s planning with partners in Ukraine reshaped itself as situations changed. Early plans that prioritized quick response are evolving as logistical challenges like transportation are being addressed. While 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.
MCC disaster response director Bruce Guenther said MCC is equipped to respond to both 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 said. “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, MCC area director for Europe and the Middle East with her husband, James Wheeler, said the generosity of MCC donors is greatly appreciated.
“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,” she said. “Thank you, sincerely, to every one of you who donated or in another way supported MCC’s work in Ukraine.”