(RNS) — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing battles have caused devastation around the country and killed soldiers and civilians. Thousands are fleeing the country, while many are unable or unwilling to leave. Ukrainians abroad are praying and waiting to hear news from their loved ones, and religious leaders are calling for peace. In an unprecedented move, Pope Francis visited the Russian embassy Friday (Feb. 25) to voice his concern.
Ukraine is now more highly searched than at any point in Google Trends history.
Around the globe, people are wondering: What can we do to help? With high levels of concern about misinformation and dubious donation claims, many are unsure of where to turn.
RNS has compiled a list of verified organizations — many of them religious or religiously affiliated — working to support Ukrainians right now.
RNS does not partner with nor specifically endorse the work of any of the organizations listed.
Ukrainian organization Voices of Children helps provide children affected by war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions with psychological and psychosocial support, including art therapy, mobile psychologists, video storytelling and individualized support.
The human rights organization wrote that they have verified violations in international human rights law through indiscriminate attacks during the invasion and said the ongoing attacks may be war crimes. Amnesty International works to research human rights violations, campaign for change and inform the public of abuses.
While the worldwide humanitarian organization doesn’t have a program in Ukraine or neighboring countries, it has identified partners on the ground to work with to provide humanitarian aid. “As the crisis escalates and the need for aid such as food, water and healthcare grows, Islamic Relief will step up to support people affected by the violence,” said Ismayil Tahmazov, Islamic Relief’s head of region.
The evangelical humanitarian aid organization founded by evangelist Franklin Graham said it has sent a disaster assistance response team to Europe to learn how the organization can help with refugees. The organization also wrote on its Ukraine-specific donation page that it has ministry partners in Ukraine that it has been in contact with to see how they can continue to assist.
The organization, which has 29 partners across Ukraine, says it will use donations to meet pressing humanitarian needs, including food, cash, medical, material and psychological support for those fleeing their homes or unable to escape.
CNEWA is working closely with Caritas Ukraine on humanitarian support in Ukraine, including setting up field kitchens and providing medical, spiritual and psychological help. “The story is changing by the hour. But what we cannot change is our deep commitment to help innocent people whose lives are in danger,” reads the CNEWA website.
The international Catholic pastoral aid organization has committed 1 million euros in emergency help to support the work of the church in Ukraine, according to its website. This grant will go to supporting 4,879 priests and religious brothers and 1,350 religious sisters in Ukraine to enable them to continue pastoral and outreach programs.
Archeparchy leadership released a statement asking for support for their humanitarian aid fund for Ukraine. “We know and believe that the war will end soon, but it will take a lot of effort and resources to restore everything,” the statement reads. Donations are being accepted via PayPal, check or in person.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
CRS, partnering with Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of Catholic relief and service organizations across the world, is working to respond to the invasion of Ukraine. On the ground, according to their website, they are preparing shelters, food, hygiene supplies, fuel, transport and counseling in Ukraine and in nearby countries. Internationally, donations can be sent to Caritas Internationalis.
LIRS released a press statement saying that a full Russian invasion of Ukraine could produce between 1 million to 5 million refugees. Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of the refugee resettlement nonprofit, said, “As the world’s humanitarian leader, the U.S. should do everything in its power to help its closest allies as they welcome Ukrainians seeking safe haven.” The group, along with other international humanitarian groups, has asked President Biden to prepare to welcome Ukrainians into the country.
In a statement released Feb. 24, 2022, the Jewish refugee service HIAS said that their “worst fears were realized overnight” as conflict in Ukraine escalated. HIAS states their first priority is the safety of the Right to Protect staff — a group that has aided refugees and displaced persons for nearly 10 years. They also note in the statement they are exploring partnerships with Jewish community organizations and more in nearby countries in order to provide refugee assistance.
A joint project of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board and North American Mission board, Send Relief is working through local churches in Poland and Ukraine to provide food, shelter, and other humanitarian assistance.
The evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organization released a statement saying that children are the worst affected by the crisis in Ukraine. The organization is preparing plans to work with partners on the ground to provide emergency relief to children and families.