Ukraine appeal matched by swift response amid ongoing humanitarian crisis
Our food.gives programme responded swiftly to the needs of Ukrainians, thanks to your quick and generous donations.
“We deeply express our gratitude and thanks for the BIG help and special generosity related to the Ukrainian refugees that came in our Refugee Centre,” wrote a church leader in Moldova to Barnabas. “May God Almighty richly bless and reward you according to His great love and generosity.”
These words came after the quick and generous response of our supporters to our appeals on behalf of suffering Ukrainians. We are thrilled, grateful to God and thankful for your donations of money and supplies.
On 24 February Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. At the time of writing more than 2.8 million people have fled the country, with 1.7 million seeking refuge in Poland and tens of thousands in countries such as Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Moldova. There were many thousands of our Christian brothers and sisters amongst them.
Those who remained in Ukraine were also suffering. As of mid-March the official Ukraine Ministry of Energy figures show more than 650,000 people without electricity and 130,000 without gas – and this was expected to rise rapidly. Supplies of food and drinking water were also diminished.
Barnabas immediately launched urgent appeals for Christians in desperate need of food, blankets, warm clothes and other basic humanitarian aid.
The incredible response
Within days of our appeals more than six tonnes of food and five tonnes of blankets, coats and other clothes were delivered to our warehouse in Swindon, UK. More donations continued to arrive each day from our 34 food.gives collection hubs all across the country. The first 40-foot lorry carrying 30 tonnes of aid from our warehouse reached Romania on 16 March followed by others, approximately one each week. Aid was distributed not only to refugees in Romania but also to the needy in Ukraine itself.
“One of the Biblical accounts we reflect on is the feeding of the five thousand,” said our UK food.gives Operations Manager. “Some people have come to us and said, ‘I haven’t got much to give you’ – and our response to those people is, give what you can, because all your giving adds up.”
“If everyone is doing the same thing – if your next door neighbour or another church is also giving a little amount – when you add all that together you suddenly find yourself with 12 baskets left over,” she added. “When we bring it all together, God can do incredible things with it.”
Later in March Barnabas in the US sent its first shipment of dried food to the region. A Canada-based gleaning organisation (a group that, like in the Old Testament, collects the gleanings of crops left at the side of the fields for the poor) donated 20,000 kg (44,000 lb) of dried potatoes that were then delivered by Barnabas to refugees from Ukraine in Romania. More shipments were due to follow.
Meanwhile Barnabas in New Zealand was also collecting donations of dried foodstuff as part of the food.gives programme. There are three collection hubs at churches in Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton, and – God willing – a container of food for Ukraine will be shipped by the end of May.
Partners in Moldova immensely grateful for prompt response
As well as sending food and supplies we have sent funds – some into Ukraine itself and some to Poland and Moldova for churches and other partners near the Ukrainian border to use to care for refugees. Food and heating fuel were the main costs.
One partner in Moldova was able to accommodate over 100 people from Ukraine in a hotel normally used for hosting conference attendees.
“We thank God for our partners at Barnabas Aid,” said a Moldovan church leader, “who showed zeal and care for the thousands of people who found themselves in the street on the night of 24 February, with their homes destroyed, causing them to evacuate and leave their homes for other countries.”
“Thank you for your prompt response,” he added, “and for the unity of the children of God in helping people in need!”
Thank you for your donations, and for your prayers for Ukraine, the whole region and the wider world.
The conflict in Ukraine is having a terrible impact far beyond the affected region itself. Together, Russia and Ukraine export on average 53 million metric tonnes of wheat, estimated at between 23% and 33% of the global total. The two countries are also leading exporters of other grains, seeds and vegetable oils, as well as much-needed fertilisers.
The disruption to these supplies is worsening the global food crisis. As of mid-March the price of wheat had risen by 28%. In countries reliant on wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine the price of bread is rising beyond the means of the impoverished population.
In addition, in early March the Russian government barred the export of fertilisers, the time of year when many crops are being planted in the northern hemisphere. As Russia is one of the world’s top exporters of fertilisers, this could have a disastrous impact on agriculture in other countries and further drive up the cost of food across the world.
As the conflict continues, less and less food will be available, placing many in these desperately needy nations at risk of malnutrition and starvation.
The crisis in Ukraine comes at a time when – owing to various conflicts, natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic – food prices were already at their highest point since 2011. In late 2021 it was estimated that a billion people worldwide are facing malnutrition as the global food crisis worsens, with 45 million already on the brink of famine.
While famine is an issue that affects all people, Christians who are already persecuted and impoverished are often among the worst affected.
For more information on how you can help our hungry brothers and sisters, visit www.food.gives