This humanitarian crisis “will forever change the face of the Church in Poland”.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Friday announced an additional $4 million donation to help “refugees in Europe,” the second major pledge in less than a month.
The latest cash injection will be split between seven projects aimed at urgently delivering food, medicine, clothing, shelter and other relief to Ukrainians who have fled their country – as well as those who remain in the beleaguered nation.
Among the efforts to receive funds is one that aims to provide antibiotics to infants in Ukraine, some of whom developed fungal lung diseases after being born in hospital basements, according to a press release.
Earlier this month, the Utah-based faith announced a pair of $2 million donations – one to the World Food Program and the other to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – to support relief efforts for Ukrainian refugees.
According to the latest statement, the church has also been “very active in ministry to Ukrainian refugees” in Hungary, providing two major non-governmental organizations with tents, temporary beds, sleeping bags and hygiene kits.
Other countries where the church has partnered with agencies to offer aid to refugees include Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo and Macedonia.
Meanwhile, Latter-day Saint volunteers as far away as the UK have been involved in a “widespread response…so immediate that NGOs on the ground are working on distribution logistics” to effectively disperse the large quantities of food, medical supplies and clothing. to the border of Ukraine and Poland.
“It brought me a sense of peace to be able to do something practical to help,” Chris Morris, a Latter-day Saint from Lichfield, England, said in the statement, “even if it was just ‘a little way.”
Another church member, Carmen Pârnău, explained in a separate statement that she had “seen many mothers with young children who were struggling from the cold and extreme exhaustion” while hiking. volunteering in Romania.
Stacy Chandler, a Latter-day Saint leader in Poland, said the humanitarian crisis “will forever change the face of the Church in Poland.”
The Europe Zone Presidency, the governing body of the church in 38 countries, oversees Latter-day Saint humanitarian response and funding for refugee support.
“We want the right supplies, financial support and people to go where they are needed most – and as quickly as possible,” said Massimo De Feo, President of the Europe Area Presidency, in a statement dated 18 March. More than 600 Ukrainian refugee church members have benefited from this coordinated effort.
Mariia, whose last name was not provided, is among that number. Originally from the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, she had attended a conference for young single adult Latter-day Saints in western Ukraine when Russia invaded. Unable to return home, she and 20 other conference attendees headed to Lviv and then Poland, where she used a “church-sponsored Facebook program” to get help.
In the latest version, the church recognized that members who want to help may struggle to know the best way to do so. In response, he stressed the importance of “enabling local leaders to use church financial resources to purchase goods and services in each local economy to help provide what is truly needed there. “.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 3.7 million Ukrainians have left their homes for neighboring countries. According to a March 9-16 study by the International Organization for Migration, an additional 6.5 million people are internally displaced.
“The scale of human suffering and forced displacement due to war far exceeds any worst-case scenario,” IOM Director General António Vitorino said in a press release.
Poland, according to the UN, inherited the largest number of Ukrainian refugees (more than 2.2 million) of any country, followed by Romania with 572,000.