We have made progress on the community center, thanks to you! Thank you so much for all the donations in April: $6805, to be exact. Wow!!! It added up quickly…

The community center space was rented and is now being renovated and outfitted for use by women, teens, and children. Last weekend, the work began, including cleaning, painting, installing carpeting, new flooring in the children’s area, hanging curtains, installing kitchen appliances, tables, chairs, laptops, IT network, shelving, and storage cabinets, a sofa, and bean bag chairs. And the daycare area will be outfitted with games, toys, and activities.

The work is beginning with the KDU team at the community center!

Volunteers cleaning the community center.

 

Here are the various activities your funds are making possible.

You are supporting Kraków Dębniki for Ukraine (KDU) a non-profit organization in the Kraków Dębniki District. To sustain the support (now in the third month of the war) for the 50 Polish host families and their 200 displaced Ukrainian guests. KDU is setting up a community center to serve as the hub for services, information, programs, training, and connection.

The programs and services to be offered beginning mid-May are:

Reception Area

– Pantry with food, clothes, personal hygiene, diapers, etc., for people to take when needed.

– Information pamphlets on schools, jobs, nurses, psychologists, Polish language classes, vocational training, and legalization services.

Women’s Center (moms and grandmoms)

– Women’s circles for connecting to community and socializing, job counseling for resume prep, job search, applications, etc.

– Entrepreneurial support for women that had their own business in Ukraine.

– Polish classes to learn the local language.

– English classes for those planning to move west to the EU or USA.

– Courses on IT and social media.

– Daycare for children so moms can work.

– Specialty workshops with guest speakers on finding jobs, attorneys, and doctors, giving support to caregivers, and providing a co-working space with laptops.

Teens

– Create a physical hang-out space with laptops, sofa, bean bag chairs, and snacks.

– Create volunteer opportunities/incentives with points and rewards or school credit.

  • Painting, moving furniture, decorating center.
  • Teaching IT to grandmoms and creating social media pages and websites.
  • Packing and delivering foods and supplies.

– Create an online hang-out space.

– Summer camps and semi-camps (in town) beginning in July and August.

Little Ones

– Daycare drop off

– Activities, games, toys, naps, and books for learning, and social engagement.

– Grandmoms and teens volunteer here.

Lena and her two sons (the oldest pictured above), a resilient Ukrainian family, are part of the KDU community.

 

This is the story of one Ukrainian family you are supporting in Kraków. Lena and her two sons came from Poltava, Ukraine, when their husband/dad joined the army to defend Ukraine. The night they hurriedly left their home, they went to the train station to travel west. Missiles were exploding, so Lena and her sons took cover and slept on the bathroom floor between the toilets that first night. The next day, Lena’s mom, sister-in-law, and son joined Lena and her two sons. The group of six boarded the train heading west to live in the Polish town Łódź near the border, where Lena could work and provide for her sons. 

Another path emerged. When Lena and her family disembarked from the train at the Polish border, Michal Piasecka waved to them and said, “Come with me. I will take you to Kraków.” Lena said, “We can’t afford to live in Kraków. We are heading to Łódź so I can work and support my family.” After a few back and forths, Lena relented, and she, her sons, and extended family went to Kraków and were hosted by Michal, his wife Olga, and their three children, ages 2-10.

Lena is still teaching English classes online to her Ukrainian students in Ukraine. Her oldest son is completing his first year at University in Kyiv. He hopes to transfer to Kraków Polytechnic University in the fall. Lena and her husband text or speak every morning and every night, so she ensures he is ok. Lena and her extended family are now in their own apartment. Michal and Olga’s generosity and love helped them get resettled in Poland. What a story! I am so fond of Lena and her oldest son…they both volunteer their time for others in the community while being displaced themselves. They are such kind people and have pure hearts.

Lena and her family were in the first wave of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees transported to Krakόw during the first two months of the war. As it turned out, Lena and her family were also the inspiration to Michal and Olga to join with their other friends and colleagues in Dębniki to find host families to assist their Ukrainian neighbors, much as they had done for Lena and her family.  Skip forward to now, the beginning of May, 200 Ukrainians are being hosted by 50 families in the Dębniki District organized by Kraków Dębniki for Ukraine (KDU) and their legally established foundation Fundacja Kocham Dębniki. And now, Lena and her family volunteer to help others in their new Dębniki community. The kindness, courage, and determination inspire me to be a better me with my inconsequential first-world problems.

As you can see, the needs are significant for the displaced Ukrainians. Thank you so much for helping to support the community center. We can do so much together. Please share the good work of KDU and the importance of helping our friends start over in a country where they will be safe. And…please…let’s hope for peace! Be positive and stay safe.

Freedom is possible!

Much love,
Cindy and Dana

 

HOW TO DONATE FUNDS

TO CONTRIBUTE BY CHECK AND RECEIVE A TAX RECEIPT:

Make your check payable to “Hispanic Community Council” include “Ukrainian Relief Initiative” in the check memo, and mail your check to:

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

Also, please include a note with your contact info (address, phone, email).

For details on the Hispanic Community Council* see the footnote at the end of this post.

TO CONTRIBUTE ELECTRONICALLY BY PAYPAL AND RECEIVE A TAX RECEIPT

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 FULL NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, AND EMAIL.

WHAT IF I DON’T CARE ABOUT A TAX RECEIPT?

You can still send your check according to the above instructions. Or, for extreme simplicity, you can Venmo directly to my personal account now, and I’ll make sure your funds get where they need to be. Make sure to indicate “Ukraine Relief Initiative” in the transfer. Please give me your other contact info (phone, email, address). You can Venmo directly to me:

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

_______

* Hispanic Community Council of Chautauqua County (HCC) is a local 501C3 charity in the Warren-Jamestown area that has generously stepped forward, slashed the red tape, and agreed to act as the pass-through 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 pass-through charity. 100% of your contributions sent to HCC and earmarked for the Ukrainian Relief Initiative will go towards our mission of relieving the Ukrainian refugee crisis, subject to the constraint that 10% of all such funds must be spent in the United States. So, in plain English, you give us $10, and we send $9 of it directly to our team in Poland/Ukraine to target the crisis on the ground there, and we are free to use the other $1 in whatever way we deem the best Ukrainian relief target in the US (e.g., supporting Ukrainian refugees who are resettling in the US). And at the end of the year, you receive a tax receipt for your $10 donation.

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