We recently received this update from CWS (you may know them as Church World Service) on how they are helping in Moldova, a small country bordering Ukraine on the west. Currently, the 375,000 refugees (as of the end of March) represent 15% of the country's population. For perspective, that would be similar to 3,900 people arriving in Marshalltown in a month's time.
Friends, thank you for being an important member of the CWS faith community. Thanks to your past support, communities — and the precious families they represent — receive help when they need it the most. And the needs of refugees are greater than they’ve been in recent history. I have just heard from my colleague, Steve, who is on the ground in Moldova right now. I wanted you to know that as the CWS Regional Director for Europe and the Middle East, he is reaching out a hand of support alongside amazing heroes and helpers who are welcoming Ukrainian refugees. As you probably know, Moldova is a small and relatively poor country. Despite this, families, schools, health clinics and private businesses are opening their homes and hearts to help tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. One of those helpers is an organization called Diaconia. Diaconia has been a trusted partner of CWS in the past and we are so grateful to reconnect with them to respond to this unprecedented crisis. Steve recorded this video update for you:
Our partner, Diaconia, opened the first food bank in Moldova in 2020 that has served as the services hub in the community. Through support from donors like you, we are helping them step up to this latest challenge by funding:
The purchase of a forklift for the Food Bank Logistics Center to continue distributing the huge outpouring of food and other supplies to shelters and other organizations.
A house that was being developed into a day care center that has been repurposed to be a home for refugee women and children - for as long as needed.
400 Ukrainian refugee children will receive school supplies so they can continue their education.
Longer-term multi-year programs to address the massive crisis caused by this war.
If your heart aches for uprooted brothers and sisters, you are called into this moment. If your spirit worries over children who want nothing more than to learn, you are called into this moment. If your prayers surround those who have left everything behind, you are called into this moment. And we are blessed to be called alongside you. Please donate or host an offering this weekend. The people of Ukraine need help today, but will also need sustained support for years to come. We can plan for the future, if we have people like you by our side, today. Please continue to faithfully care for those who are suffering. Our team on the ground will keep sending updates to be posted on our social media channels. Please follow CWS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information. Please continue to join me in prayer for peace and in gratitude for the amazing compassion of helpers. Helpers like the ones we see in Moldova and ones like you, back home. Gratefully, Rick Santos, CWS President and CEO P.S. Thanks to our compassionate supporters, we have raised more than $360,000 for the Ukraine Crisis Response Fund. If you’d like to donate to the fund or to support the ongoing work of CWS to ensure all have food, a voice and a safe place to call home, go to cwsglobal.org. Mail checks to: CWS, Attn: Ukraine Crisis, PO Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515
If you'd like to see more on the conditions of refugees in Moldova, a photojournalist (not affiliated with CWS) sent this report: