We started by giving our own money, but that quickly felt overwhelming and inadequate. Giving interviews and presentations about our friends provides us with a way to multiply the good our efforts can do for our friends and neighbors in Ukraine.
These are the people we are currently helping:
We have a dear friend who taught with Julie as her TA all five years we lived in Ukraine. She is currently in Warsaw, Poland. She left with a backpack and her dog. We send her money to help her start to build a new life.
We have another dear friend who also worked at Julie's school. He left Kyiv with his family, wife, mother, son and dog. They are living in a small dacha with no running water or indoor plumbing in a village a few hours to the west of Kyiv. We send him money that he uses to support people in his family and a military unit that includes his friend. He diligently sends us receipts for the money he gives out.
Through this same friend, we got money directly to another dear friend who sold flowers on our street. The military evacuated her from a suburb of Kyiv, surrounded by severe fighting. She has sent us videos of Ukrainian tanks rolling down her street. On her last night in Kyiv, she was in the cellar listening to 5 bombs explode nearby. She has moved west, where it is quieter, but needs money for food and medicine.
We have another pair of friends who were our neighbors at our apartment in Kyiv. They spent the last few weeks sheltering in the metro stations. We send them some money because, although things are opening up in Kyiv, their jobs have not restarted.
Another woman who became like family never left her apartment in Kyiv. She always operated on a cash basis. So far, we have not found a way to get money to her. We will continue to search for a way, and if we do, she will be someone we will support. She stays to care for her sick mother, who would not survive the move. She is brave. She makes camouflage nets for the tanks during the day and sends us pictures of herself smiling in front of them. She is also realistic about her situation. She ended one message by saying, "it is a lottery."
We check in with these people daily. We don't always hear from them daily. But so far, all the people we am keeping track of are ok.
If you decide to give to an organization, let me suggest any places linked on the Google Doc below. An expat friend with deep ties in Ukraine curates these suggestions.