One year on...
On the 24th February, 2023, it will be a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Thousands of lives lost and still the war continues. Gruelling and emotionally heart wrenching will not adequately describe what the Ukrainians have been through. Lives turned upside down, cities and homes destroyed, their future and security in question. When will there be an end to their misery?
We at GAiN UK will continue to send support and help to those affected by this war. Since the invasion, together with our partners, we have sent 6 trucks (3 food trucks and 3 donated – hygiene products, hospital beds, clothes, etc) to help Ukraine. Our partner, His Church, has sent another 3 food trucks last summer. They started a campaign called Operation Manna and amazingly, GAiN UK was involved in sending the first and the millionth meal of this campaign. These trucks have been gratefully received, giving hope and help to those in need.
Countless lives have been changed by this war and with your help, we were able to send essential aid to those impacted. Here are some of their stories:
Before the start of the war, Stepan Kutsenko and his wife Antonina lived in the city of Popasna, Luhansk region. Both of them are retired, having worked at the railway all their lives. When Russian troops began to bomb their hometown, the couple, fearing for their lives, left their home to go to Western Ukraine. While on their way, their car came under fire twice. During the second shelling, their neighbour, who was traveling with them, sadly died. Their car was completely destroyed. They had to leave all their possessions in the car and could only take just a bag of documents with them. The Kutsenko family managed to reach Lviv on an evacuation train
From Lviv, the elderly couple ended up in Ivanychi in mid-March 2022. Here they began to receive assistance with food and various things from our GAiN partner, the Forget-Me-Not Foundation. With great gratitude, they accepted food packages. Stepan could not hide his emotions as he accepted the packages and asked to convey his gratitude to everyone involved in this great good deed.
Elena with her husband Anatoly and twins Mila and Lisa lived happily in Mariupol until the war. Anatoly is a professional soldier, and Elena is a kindergarten teacher. After the invasion, their lives collapsed. In tears, Elena recalled the weeks spent with children in the basement under heavy shelling, without water and food. Her husband had already gone to the frontline of the war at that time. With God’s help, the family managed to leave their hometown and find refuge in the city of Novovolynsk, near the border with Poland. Here, the family turned to the Church of the Holy Trinity, our GAiN partner, where they received regular help that continues to this day. As Elena received food packages, it helped her not feel alone but encouraged by the support and sympathy of other people. It instilled faith in human kindness and made it possible to experience the love of God in real life.
We met Alina in Borodyanka, northeast of Kiev. The 46-year-old showed us her destroyed apartment in a bombed, half-ruined house. Except for the kitchen, installed a few days before the missile strike, practically everything is destroyed.
Alina tells us, “When my relatives in Bucha were buried, their cell phones were still working. They called us and said, “Look for our bodies on the second floor, so at least you can give us a dignified burial.” After our encounter, Alina sets off for her father’s funeral. Her path takes her past the building everyone calls the “House of Death.” There was no alarm when the bomb hit the high-rise. None of the more than 200 residents, including many children and teenagers, could be saved. The death was too sudden. Their home has now become their cemetery. The charred corpses still lie inside. Children play in front of the house. It is a sunny day. Still, it felt cold inside. The city would like to leave the ruin standing as a monument, a reminder of the terrible time of the war, Alina and many others wish it would be torn down. “We don’t want to be reminded of this terrible war every day. We used to be known here in Borodyanka for the mild summer. People came to us to celebrate life. Today we are the city of death.”
Veronika, a survivor from Novoselivka, tells us, “I thank God that we survived, but I don’t know how we can continue to live well. The government says in a year we will have our house back, and then the reconstruction should be finished. But it’s still war. Will everything be good again then? I don’t know. The main thing is to get through this time and have good people who are with us now – like you are.”
We want to continue sending help and hope to the people of Ukraine. But we can’t do it on our own. With your help, Ukrainians can continue to survive and get relief, knowing they are not abandoned nor forgotten.
To give to the Ukraine crisis, click here: https://give.agape.org.uk/ukraine/
UK Response Statistics
Total Raised in the UK: £111,000
- Funds sent directly to our GAiN Partners: £16,700
- Relief items (i.e. food, hygiene supplies and sleeping bags): £42,500
- Transport Costs: £16,900
- UK operations: £8,900
- Long term reserve funds: £26,000