How can we help Ukrainian refugees?

The Ukraine refugee situation is the worst in Europe since WWII, reminding us of the 1990s, when Yugoslavia broke into warring states.  The bulk of the support to the Ukrainian military and refugees is provided by European countries, since they are closest to the theater.  As of April 4, over 4.2 million people have left Ukraine.  Another 7 million have had to relocate within the country as their homes, neighborhoods, and towns have been destroyed.

The greatest number of refugees (over two million) have relocated to Poland, where the nation has welcomed people to their homes.  Many of the remaining refugees have gone to bordering countries such as Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, and Russia (some against their will).  These nations have hesitated at creating refugee camps, which become long-term or permanent settlements.  Refugees need food, clothing, sleeping facilities, medicines, and surgical care, as well as education for children.

So far, Joe Biden has indicated that we would allow 100,000 Ukrainian refugees into our country.  This has yet to happen, and the State Department is notoriously slow at bureaucratic maneuvers.  They never thought the Ukrainians could put up a significant resistance.  The administration is risk-adverse (in foreign relations), so it has been late to the effort.  

The strength of American society is the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of productive citizens.  Individuals with special forces and intelligence experience helped secure the escape of many from Afghanistan without the help of the State Department during 2021.  Similar people of all nationalities are doing the same in Ukraine.   We hear of Ukrainian soldiers lacking guns, boots, protective vests, and ammunition.  But non-governmental agencies are working to get around these problems as bureaucrats waste precious time.  The history of corruption in Ukraine does complicate the situation, so one must donate to reputable agencies with established contacts.

A list of some agencies helping refugees and those within the country includes these: Global Empowerment Mission, World Central Kitchen, Maya's Hope, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Kidsave, Mercy Corps, Americares, United Way Ukraine Fund, International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and Spirit of America among many other groups.  The funds donated by regular people will make a difference.

Personally, I have donated to several different groups.  My synagogue held a fundraiser with a Klezmer (traditional Jewish music) band (Klezmer Local 42 of Athens, GA), including a bake sale and silent auction that raised thousands of dollars.  Within my community, a church sent a delegation to Romania to help refugees.  They raised thousands of dollars from my Rotary Club.  I have given to the Chabad effort in Ukraine and to the National Jewish Federation through my local chapter.  Americans are generous, but there are selfish reasons to help the Ukrainians.  They are the bulwark against the aggressive behavior of yet another European dictator.

Today, we can make a difference since many have the financial means to help those resisting evil.  We can't wait while our corrupt and inefficient government waffles about involvement.  After all, these are the same people who bungled the withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.  Europeans cannot wait for Biden to lead; neither can we.


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