SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Through partners across Europe and teams on the ground, Convoy of Hope is providing shelter, food, water, hygiene kits and other necessities to Ukrainian refugees in Poland and other strategic locations. More than 1.7 million Ukrainians have fled to bordering countries after war broke out more than a week ago; the number of displaced persons could reach 5 million, according to the United Nations.
"The scenes of Ukrainians seeking shelter and refuge from the war are truly heartbreaking," said Convoy of Hope President Hal Donaldson. "Convoy is now calling on its vast experience from disaster responses to bring much-needed help and hope to people fleeing the violence."
A team from Convoy of Hope headquarters arrived in Poland last Wednesday to facilitate the distribution of much-needed aid. Since that time, Convoy has procured a warehouse in which to store incoming supplies and organize a full-scale response.
"We've seen thousands and thousands of people pulling bags, looking for shelter for tonight. There are lots of women and children; the kids look dazed and exhausted...they cry easily," said Jess Heugel, of Convoy of Hope. "Parents spend lots of time holding and comforting their kids. One boy fell asleep under his dad's chair as we spoke to his father."
One refugee, Valia, spoke to a member of Convoy's team in Poland. She fled the Ukraine with her 18-month-old grandson, leaving behind her husband, daughter, and other family members who stayed behind to fight, or support those who were.
"It's hard for people to decide if they should stay if there's a bombing and hear the shooting, or move here and have your family still behind; your heart is broken," she said. "When we were leaving, my daughter and I just grabbed one of everything: jeans, sweater, a coat, baby formula, diapers. We can skip food for one, two, or three days, but our babies need enough food to get through day by day. When we crossed, we came here. Here the volunteers are helping us and love us. We are safe, we are warm, and I am so grateful to God that volunteers dedicate their time and open their hearts. It's wonderful."
Many fleeing from Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, have traveled five days to reach the border. Under normal circumstances, the trip would take less than one day. However, traffic jams, fuel shortages, and damage to roads have made the journey out of the war zone much more difficult. As the war continues to displace women, children and elderly individuals, Convoy of Hope is hard at work to bring emergency relief.
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About Convoy of Hopeconvoyofhope.org.Convoy of Hope is a faith-based organization with a driving passion to feed the world. With a long history as an early responder in times of natural disasters, Convoy of Hope has been a Four Star Charity as recognized by Charity Navigator since 2002. Convoy of Hope has served more than 193 million people since it was founded in 1994. For more information, please visit