We continue as a community to help the plight of those who are suffering because of the war in Ukraine. We must continue to encourage and help as many refugees as possible, providing succour and comfort where needed and to raise awareness of their financial and material need and that of many internally displaced people still in Ukraine.
Please therefore help generously in whatever way you can. There is a collection basket in the church on the font for donations or send to our account: Please reference your donation: “Ukraine fund”.
Below is an account of Volodymyr (not his real name), a friend of one of our parishioners who in his own words describes his plight and the current situation in Ukraine. In early March 8 members of his family fled Kyiv to shelter from the war in Chernivitsy, near the Romanian border. Later three more relatives from Chernihiv who for four weeks had been living in a deep basement without water, electricity, heating or proper food joined the family. They arrived dirty, hungry and exhausted. All 11 of them are now living in just 2 rooms in someone’s house. They have run out of money which a friend in the UK was sending them – their only source of financial support. This friend unfortunately now has huge medical expenses of their own and cannot continue to help them. There is no work. They are completely dependent on occasional food from their neighbours. They cannot leave Ukraine because they have elderly relatives in Kyiv and Chernihiv who cannot travel because of illness and infirmity. Volodymyr’s elderly father in Kyiv has miraculously escaped from being killed by two missiles which landed a few metres away from where he was standing at his work place and later near his apartment. Thank you for whatever you can give to support Volodymyr’s family and others in a similar position.
From Volodymyr in Chernivtsy on June 6th:
“To be honest our situation with money has deteriorated now. In the beginning of war prices for many products doubled. But for the last few weeks they have even tripled in comparison with what it was before the war.
“We have already run out of those money for food you sent to us two months ago. No one of my family including me has work now. Since the beginning of war our government promised to support us at least one time with 2000 hrivnas per person (it is about 60 dollars). But they still didn’t manage with this help because of lack of people in administration’s who should process all necessary documents. But even if they finally sometime later manage to give us this 60 dollars it is still not enough even for one week of eating food. Budget for simple food that is enough for leading normal life in Ukraine now is about 300-350 dollars for one person per month. And it is just for food without counting utilities, transport expenses, medication etc that are also usually needed. Now of course we do it our best to cut our expenses as much as possible and to save money maximum. We can afford to spend money only on basic things.
“So if it is possible for you, if you have such opportunity please support us with some more money for food? I and all my family will be extremely gratitude for that very much!”
And some good news for which we can thank God and those who prayed for her:
A young Ukrainian girl, Maria, (not her real name) who used to study in Shropshire and attended our church, recently fled the bombing in Luhansk to eastern Russia. We have just heard that she has managed to make the huge journey alone across Russia to Austria via Estonia in order to apply for a visa to the UK. Two weeks ago she received her visa and 10 days ago arrived in the UK.
In April the Yushchenko family arrived in North Wales and are now living with me. This is not only a privilege but also a blessing.
They are delightful, helpful and culturally engaged in what is going on in the community through school, college and neighbours. Their effort to speak English is boundless as they continue with their studies.
The administration required has been tasking but not impossible. The new agencies being set up are fielding their own way through the new system but they are always helpful. Their mandate is to find safe accommodation, support and kindness shown to families from Ukraine.
We cannot be on the front line of the war in Ukraine but we can play our part in sharing our homes so that they who have fled may return strengthened to rebuild their country and this is how we can play our part knowing we have obeyed one of Christ’s commands to ‘ Welcome the Stranger’.
Local Support in Shrewsbury
In Shrewsbury at the Community Hub in the Darwin Centre, on the ground floor, there are volunteers who welcome Ukrainian refugees, talk to them, arrange English classes for them and help them find work. It is run by Amanda Jones, mob.07487883777, and can be found at www.shropshiresupportsrefugees.org, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also c/o United Reformed Church, Coleham Head, Shrewsbury SY3 7BJ tel 01743 216758.
The hub is open Monday to Friday 11am to 4pm.