Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have fled their homeland to seek refuge in foreign countries. However, within Ukraine's borders, many vulnerable individuals remain, unable to leave their homes.’
After the first week of the war, a charitable organization in Lithuania was established, "Food for Ukraine". Its website says: “From the beginning of the war to August 27 thanks to many Novus partners and sponsors of the fund with the help of the Red Cross, it has already distributed 81 truckloads of groceries, for over 1,940,000 EUR (about US$2,045,703.54). The recipients of the aid were mostly single disadvantaged people in need of social care, especially children.”
Badly Affected by the War
The villages of Kuhari and Pidgaine are located in an area of Kyiv region that was badly affected by the war.
A resident of Pidgaine village shared her harrowing experience: "When our Ukrainian troops launched their offensive, the Russian military began shelling us. They fired shells into our yards, and bombs landed right in front of my house. We had to hide in the cellar and only dared to return after about three weeks."
Despite the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, many elderly, weak, and lonely individuals continue to struggle for survival within the country.
A resident of Kuhari Town lamented: "Look at what the bombs have done to our town; they exploded right next to our house and turned this entire area into ruins."
"For the elderly people living here whose homes have been destroyed, the food we provide can make a significant difference, helping them survive. We are grateful that, in such challenging times, we can assist every individual here, and we believe that things will get better," said Nerijus Udrėnas, head of the Food for Ukraine foundation.
The Food for Ukraine foundation has been providing a lifeline to these individuals over the past year and a half, with over 300,000 food packages delivered to more than 100,000 Ukrainian citizens.
In early 2023, Tzu Chi, in collaboration with the Lithuanian Trade Representative Office and facilitated by Paulius Lukauskas, launched a joint effort to provide aid in Kyiv and its surrounding towns.
“We are happy to officially announce the start of cooperation between Food for Ukraine and the Buddhist Charitable Foundation from Taiwan ‘TZU CHI’,” wrote the website of Food for Ukraine, April 4, 2023.
“Our partners are people who understand how important it is to support people affected by the war. These are people who not only understand, but also act, for which we are very grateful,” said Nerijus Udrėnas.
Together they distributed 28,000 food packages, extending a helping hand to more Ukrainians affected by the war. This distribution project provided the food packages to residents in the Kyiv vicinity, with 2,000 packages distributed each week over 14 weeks since this April. This assistance reached 100 families with displaced children, 400 homeless families, 300 elderly individuals living alone, 100 orphans, and 800 people with disabilities; all benefited from this international act of compassion.
Nerijus said: "In Kukhari Village, most of those who stayed behind are elderly, weak, or disabled. The support provided by Tzu Chi and our organization is crucial here. These children are very grateful for your (Tzu Chi’s) help, and they look forward to a brighter future."
A Jing Si Aphorism said: "To end the disasters of the world, we must transform and improve the human mind."
Wars often stem from human discontent, and, to make the world a better place, we must begin with harmonizing everyone's heart.
Join Tzu Chi. Let us collectively show our love, embrace the world with compassion, and make our world a better place.