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Want to help Ukraine? These California organizations need your support

People fill buckets with water outdoors
People line up for water at a pumping station in Shchastia in eastern Ukraine. Some have lost running water and have to carry buckets and bottles home.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been described by President Biden as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack.”

The urgency of the situation isn’t new to organizations in California and elsewhere that have been helping Ukrainians affected by fighting that dates to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and other territorial moves.

Eliza Gorham Shaw, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said Red Cross teams have witnessed how the violence has affected people daily — on personal, psychological and emotional levels.

A woman reacts as she stands in front of a house burning after being shelled in the city of Irpin.

“It also hits every aspect of efforts to keep going with the most basic, mundane, routine tasks. Damage to essential infrastructure such as water, gas and power supplies, mostly as a result of explosive weapons, has caused cuts and shortages, with huge knock-on effect for communities far beyond the immediate area of fighting,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians in California are newly concerned about the safety of their loved ones, many of whom have adapted to living with conflict, said Dmytro Kushneruk, the consul general of Ukraine in San Francisco.

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“In no way are we downplaying the situation, but when you’re in a country that’s in a state of war, psychologically, it’s part of daily life,” Kushneruk said.

If you wish to help, Kushneruk pointed to three organizations in California that continue to help Ukrainians. The Red Cross and UNICEF are also active in Ukraine. Here’s who they are and what they need.

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Revived Soldiers Ukraine

What it does: This organization funds medication and medical supplies for field and army hospitals at the front lines of eastern Ukraine. Revived Soldiers Ukraine was founded in 2016 and has since brought 50 wounded Ukrainian soldiers to U.S. hospitals for care.

How you can help: The organization’s president, Iryna Vashchuk Discipio, said they urgently need monetary donations to buy medication and to repair a car used to rush injured soldiers away from the front lines.

International Medical Corps

What it does: The Los Angeles-based organization provides emergency relief to those struck by conflict, disaster and disease. When an emergency has ended, the organization shifts its response to long-term medical support and training. The organization has been operating in eastern Ukraine since 2014, delivering primary healthcare and mental health services to communities affected by the ongoing conflict.

How you can help: A monetary donation will help International Medical Corps as it prepares to deploy mobile medical teams to provide emergency and primary health services, mental health and psychosocial support and COVID-19 awareness and prevention services.

Direct Relief

What it does: The Santa Barbara-based organization distributes donated medicine and medical supplies. Direct Relief has supplied Ukrainian healthcare providers with more than $27 million in medical aid. It recently sent a large shipment of diabetes supplies and is offering its Ukrainian partners IV fluids, antibiotics, medications for anesthesia, sutures, and cardiovascular medication, among other supplies.

How you can help: A monetary donation will support Direct Relief’s efforts to send medical supplies to Ukrainian healthcare providers.

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Nova Ukraine

What it does: Nova Ukraine has several humanitarian efforts, including Heart2Heart, which assembles and delivers aid packages to Ukraine.

How you can help: You can donate clothes, shoes, household supplies, personal hygiene products, baby food (with an expiration date of not less than six months from date of purchase), diapers and medicine. Heart2Heart is specifically in need of shoes and clothing for children. It also accepts wheelchairs, anti-decubitus pillows and personal hygiene items for wounded soldiers.

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, volunteers with trucks or vans are needed to take care packages to a delivery company, Meest, in Sacramento for transport to Ukraine.

Hromada

What it does: This San Francisco-based organization runs a charity, the Anhelyk Foundation, that supports the children of families whose parents died in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. For the last four years, the foundation has supported these families by sending them $50 per child. It also provides college scholarships.

How you can help: Monetary donations are accepted through Paypal, on the organization website, or by a check mailed to Hromada, P.O. Box 7026, Corte Madera, CA 94976.

Operation USA

What it does: The Los Angeles-based international disaster relief and development agency helps communities at home and abroad to overcome the effects of disasters, disease, violence and endemic poverty. Operation USA is in touch with the Assn. of Community Foundations in Poland to assess any and all opportunities to provide aid to Ukrainian refugees.

How you can help: The organization is sending bulk shipments of material aid, and it also hopes to make cash grants and provide additional support to small but effective community-based partners aiding vulnerable families. To support this effort, select “Support Ukrainian Refugees” or leave a comment on what project your donation should fund online.

Kidsave

What it does: Through its partners in Ukraine, this Culver City-based organization has moved more than 100 children over the last three years out of orphanages in Mykolaiv and Kherson back to their biological families or into new homes.

How you can help: Kidsave is pivoting its efforts to providing financial support to its Ukrainian partners as they work to move children, already in new homes, and their families to safety and provide for their basic needs. Through its partners, 87 children and their families have been moved. A monetary donation will help Kidsave’s partners move children in orphanages to safety until the search for permanent homes can continue.

Article 26 Backpack

What it does: From UC Davis, Article 26 Backpack is a free and confidential service that enables students, refugees and other displaced people to virtually store and share personal records essential to protecting them and reestablishing their lives. Users can upload and store documents in the password-protected, cloud-based service. The online tool is available in Dari/Farsi, English, Arabic, French and Spanish.

How you can help: Use social media or other means to spread awareness of this service with friends and relatives in or fleeing Ukraine.

International Committee of the Red Cross

What it does: Shaw said the Red Cross’ humanitarian work aims to help people rebuild their lives and cope with the wider consequences of conflict.

“For example, to help families in the Donbas, the region where fighting is taking place, we helped repair thousands of homes damaged in the conflict, hospitals and primary healthcare facilities, schools and community centers. We provided income-generating and food-producing initiatives and improved learning and safety conditions of schools close to the line of contact,” she said.

How you can help: A monetary donation can help repair homes or infrastructure such as water pumping stations, and provide mental health and educational services. The Red Cross also provides education about avoiding land mines and unexploded ordnance.

UNICEF

What it does: UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps provide conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition, health and safety services. Catherine Russell, the organization’s executive director, said the original appeal for Ukraine sought to raise $15 million, but the new ask is $66.4 million to respond to the most recent crisis.

How you can help: A donation will help UNICEF continue trucking safe water to conflict-affected areas and prepositioning health, hygiene and emergency education supplies as close as possible to communities near the front lines. Funding also supports UNICEF’s mobile teams.

Russia’s war in Ukraine is causing a European refugee crisis on a scale not seen since World War II and raising fears of a return to Cold War-era dynamics.

CARE

What is does: CARE is an international organization that fights global poverty with emergency response and long-term development projects.

How you can help: A monetary donation will support CARE’s efforts to raise at least $20 million for direct aid and recovery to Ukrainians in need. It’s aiming to assist at least 4 million Ukrainians with food, hygiene kits, psychosocial support services, water and cash.

International Rescue Committee

What it does: The organization responds to help restore health, safety, education, economic well-being and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. The International Rescue Committee is in Poland assessing humanitarian needs.

How you can help: A monetary donation will help the organization provide food, medical care and emergency supplies to refugee families from Ukraine.


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