Many months ago, I shared our calling to help with the Ukrainian refugee efforts. In April, Dana and I went to Poland for a couple of weeks to help organize the efforts. We joined the Ukraine Relief Initiative (URI) team and partner, Kraków Dębniki for Ukraine (KDU), in the Dębniki district in Kraków. During our visit, we helped KDU with plans to open a community center to assist Ukrainians and their Polish host families. The center opened in June and has helped hundreds of Ukrainian families. The needs have changed from rescuing Ukrainian families to assisting them in finding permanent homes in a country that has welcomed them with open arms.

When we began, we thought a couple of months was all that would be needed. But here we are, six months later. With our partner, Kraków Dębniki for Ukraine (KDU), we opened Świetlica Dębniki Community Center, and we partnered with Fundacja Let’s Help Together Foundation, an NGO, and opened a psychotherapy/women’s center. URI also takes supplies into Ukraine to help displaced elderly and disabled patients at a medical center (The Falcon) and a refugee center (The Nest) that houses 80 Ukrainian women and children. We have accomplished so much. Please see the six-month impact summary below for the number of people served by each program.

Six-month summary of Ukrainians served in two Community Centers:

  • 1682 visits to the pantry (adults), plus 704 kids (2386 packages with food, clothes, and hygienic products were given away)
  • 40 people attend English classes every week (132 hours of classes) • 104 people attend Polish classes every week (279 hours of classes)
  • 40 people attend various workshops every week (315 hours of workshops)
  • 230 kids attend daycare
  • 146 adults + c.a. 230 kids active in our community, daily present in Świetlica Dębniki
  • 80 people; 46 applications in process; 8 on the reserve list; 169 hours of Psychotherapy sessions for individuals and groups last month
  • 13-15 teens attend psychotherapy sessions each Friday
  • 175 teens took part in workshops
  • 450 hours of classes

Additional six-month information:

  • 8 van trips to Ukraine with supplies for The Nest and Oksana’s Hospital
  • 32 URI Volunteers journeyed to Krakow & Ukraine
  • $235,000 USD raised through personal friends/family and donor networks
  • $37,000 USD is the monthly cost to run these programs
  • Funded through November 2022 We are aiming to raise another $200,000 to fund our current level of service for December 2022 through May 2023.

Check out this 5-minute video of the Ukrainian women that gather at the Świetlica Dębniki Community Center to see and hear your impact first-hand. https://youtu.be/bJPsr9lffiQ

Fun activities at Świetlica Dębniki Community Center.

Daycare center and children’s art therapy.

Polish language classes.

We have made significant progress in helping these strong and resilient Ukrainian families. But we need to raise $200K to fund the two community centers, the Nest refugee center and the Falcon medical center in Ukraine, for another six months. If you want to help, please consider a financial contribution to the Ukraine Relief Initiative. Contribution methods are at the end of this email. URI + KDU: “1 + 1 = 1,000”

“Relieve the crisis. Thoughtfully. With Discipline and heart. Now.”

I can become angry and then hopeless with the US democratic experiment that seems to be slipping away, one hateful discourse at a time. In contrast, I am reminded of my faith in humanity and the value of hope when joining with the courageous Ukrainians and the heroic Polish people associated with these programs. While my heart breaks to hear their struggles and their stories, the contribution we are making is a drop of goodness to provide a healing salve, not only for our new-found friends but to my own soul. As they fight and resist the Russian authoritarian regime, I can’t help but believe they are just a few paces down the road from our own battle with authoritarianism. If you want to help stop authoritarianism in its tracks, consider a financial contribution to the Ukraine Relief Initiative, or if you are so moved, please volunteer to work side-by-side on the ground in Kraków with our Polish partners. You will be changed!

Dana and I are returning to Poland in December to work with our heroic partners at KDU. The plight of the Ukrainian women and children living the struggle every day is real. Please share their story with your trusted circle. We can do so much together!

We appreciate your friendship, love, and support. And thank you for being a part of our circle of love. Be positive and stay safe. Hope for peace for Ukraine!

Much love,
Cindy and Dana

 

HOW TO MAKE FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS

These contributions are tax-deductible through HCC, our registered 501(c)(3) pass-through charity.

TO CONTRIBUTE BY CHECK:

Make your check payable to **Hispanic Community Council** (VERY IMPORTANT: not to Ukraine Relief Initiative). After you write your check to the Hispanic Community Council, please mail your check to:

Ukrainian Relief Initiative
c/o Gladys Archer
115 Main Ave
Warren, PA 16365

Please indicate “Ukrainian Relief Initiative” in the check memo and include a note with your contact info (address, phone, email). * See the footnote at the bottom for details on the Hispanic Community Council.

TO CONTRIBUTE ELECTRONICALLY BY PAYPAL:

Use this link: https://www.paypal.me/UkraineReliefInitiat. PayPal goes through Gladys Archer, serving as a liaison between the “Ukraine Relief Initiative” and “Hispanic Community Council,” our 501(c)3 pass-through organization.

In the memo, please include your name, address, phone #, and email so we can process your tax receipt.

CONTRIBUTE WITH NO TAX RECEIPT

Venmo directly to my personal account now, and I’ll ensure your funds get where they need to be. Make sure to indicate “Ukraine Relief Initiative” in the transfer. Please give me your contact info (phone, email, address). You can Venmo directly to me:

Click this link, https://account.venmo.com/u/Cynthia-Henson-12.

_______

* In light of the emergency needs in Poland/Ukraine and the prohibitively long lead time of months or even years to establish a new charity in the US, the Hispanic Community Council of Chautauqua County (HCC), a local 501(c)(3) charity in the Warren-Jamestown area, has generously stepped forward, slashed the red tape, and agreed to act as the passthrough charity to process payments and issue tax receipts for our Ukraine Relief Initiative, consistent with their broad charitable mandate relating to international community engagement.  HCC is not charging our initiative one single penny to act as our passthrough charity. 100% of your contributions sent to HCC and earmarked for the Ukrainian Relief Initiative will go directly towards our mission of relieving the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

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