For all of our supporters,
One of our biggest values is transparency. We don’t take it for granted that you’ve trusted us with your time and your energy, and we want you to know where your donations go, what they buy, and who we’re working with on the ground. This Saturday will mark one month of us collecting money and sending it directly into Ukraine, and we’re not slowing down. In the last 72 hours we’ve distributed another $5,398.41 directly to families and local community leaders in the regions that need it the most. To give you a sense of the breadth of your impact, we’ve put together this chart breaking down our distributions by category.
We’ve also been locating and directly supporting vulnerable populations. Individuals with moderate to severe disabilities inside Ukraine have been unable to effectively escape Russian air raids. Others have chosen to stay behind, and risk their own lives, to care for family members who would not be able to fend for themselves. For example, Galina, 59 years old, chose to travel from Kharkiv to Cherniv to take care of her mother Vera, 86. You’re taking care of both of them.
Victoria (bottom, middle) suffers from hearing and cognitive disabilities that prevent her from safely leaving. She has never lived anywhere but Nikolaev and can’t imagine leaving even under threat of war. She wants you all to know that you’re invited to come fishing with her anytime after this war is over. I plan to take her up on it.
Personally, I feel particularly gratified whenever we’re in contact with someone from someplace that I’ve never heard of. Millions of people live in Ukraine’s villages and have little access to emergency infrastructure and poor roads. They rarely have personal cars or access to reliable transportation outside of their area. They reach out to us because they can’t get help anywhere else. Our ability to send them cash directly helps them buy food and supplies in the place that they live. That help is invaluable.
Mikolai and his son live in Bilsk, a village in North-eastern Ukraine with a population of only 1,043. Daria and her son are from Agronomia in southern Ukraine – population 850. Daria was so happy for the support she wrote me this morning:
“Thank you so much, the money arrived. Until the moment it came I never believed it would, and it’s SO MUCH for us. Thank you one more time from our family.”
Your support sent Daria $250, enough to feed her family and buy seed to sow her crops locally. Those are big wins for people who need them.
Unfortunately we’re also suffering losses. The people we work with on the ground, all volunteers, are taking enormous risks to provide food and medicines to citizens in war zones. And those risks are very real. So it’s with a heavy heart that we mourn Sergey Shamonin, who did amazing and tireless work on behalf of his community in Nikolaev.
Sergey, pictured here with two of his three children, loved Ukraine. He joined up with the territorial defense to fight for Nikolaev during the war. Knowing he could do more, Sergey was moonlighting with our partners on the ground, using his personal vehicle to make deliveries.
On Sunday, Sergey volunteered to take medical supplies that our supporters helped import from Germany to local clinics near Nikolaev. The box of bandages on the left is the same as the one loaded into his car on the right. Our partners always send us confirmation that items we purchase are going out the door, and Sergey took his delivery selfie holding his pack over his face as a security measure. He’s in uniform and didn’t give himself time to change. On Tuesday, Sergey went back to work at the administrative building in Nikolaev. Then, on the same day the Russian army announced it was withdrawing forces from Kyiv as a “show of good faith,” this happened.
Sergey was inside when Russian forces conducted an airstrike on Nikolaev city hall. As of this writing, there are fifteen confirmed dead from the attack with eight more still missing.
Sergey’s death is a serious loss for the people we work with in Odessa and Nikolaev. The other delivery driver for these shipments, Dmitry, was classmates and best friends with Sergey going back to first grade. Their last photos together are from those Sunday deliveries.
Sergey was a person with strong convictions and deeply held beliefs about his country. Ultimately, he gave Ukraine everything. His family is holding a funeral this week, an expensive proposition in wartime, and we’ve pledged to issue donations to support Sergey’s family in the short term. We can never replace Sergey, but we can try our best to show appreciation for who he was while he was alive.
Thank you Sergey. We’d only just met, but it was an honor to work with you.
Nathan and I are going to keep pushing forward, doing what we can, for everyone we can, as fast as we can. This is a volunteer force, working entirely in our spare time, with no advertising budget. We rely on your trust and support to grow. So, please, tell your friends and family about United Ukraine and what we’re doing. We believe in this because we care about the people we talk to every day. The costs of this war aren’t abstract when you hear the stories of the people it impacts.
The most direct way to support our work is with your resources.
Via Debit, Credit, or Paypal: At this link.
Via Venmo: @UnitedUkraine (under the business tab)
Our Website: http://www.united-ukraine.org
Really, truly, thank you for everything you’ve done for us and for everything that you’ve allowed us to do.