The quarantine that has resulted from the coronovirus pandemic, is hitting our small village very hard. We have helped many in our village but we want to do more, can you help us?
Because of the impact worldwide of the coronovirus, and not just in heath terms, a special #GivingTuesdayNow campaign has been announced and will be held on May 5th. This special #GivingTuesdayNow was established in order to help support the many nonprofits that are seeing a huge influx of need due to the coronovirus pandemic; which includes our nonprofit, Heart of Ukraine Ministries (USA)/Vinnytsia-Heart of Ukraine (Ukrainian).
Those you who know us are aware that we have been feeding the homeless and needy here in our oblast (state) since 2008. Just before the quarantine we were feeding several times a week beside the main train station in the city of Vinnytsia, Ukraine, with more than 50 guests coming, and 40 liters (over 10 gallons) of hot soup being served along with bread and hot tea.
When the pandemic first started we were able to continue to feed, but eventually restrictions were put into place that limited the number of people who can gather, travel of only 2 people, possible deportation issues for uncooperative foreigners, etc.. and we had to stop feeding. Since then we have regrouped and increased our existing food distribution ministry to the people in our village.
We have a couple of ideas on how to help people in our village and your donation could help us meet the needs of those struggling.
1. FOOD BAGS:
a. Already: We have worked with a big store in the city (Metro), received a donation of goods from them and have prepared & given out 100 bags of food in our village; sugar, buckwheat, corn porridge, oil, pasta, cans of corn, cans of peas, mineral water (from Kyiv Food Bank donation to us), and wet wipes. The Mayor of our village and her staff helped us by creating a list of those most in need and helping us deliver the bags. The previous bags cost approximately $6.50, so 100 bags = $650. The store is helping many villages and cannot donate again to us.
b. More Food Bags: We know that the food given previously won’t last long and we would like to prepare more food bags for those 100 people/homes. Maybe offering other foods and some staple items. And giving the food bags out as we can throughout the remainder of the quarantine; maybe 2 or 3 times more, so about $2,000. Donations to us through Go Fund Me will help us buy this food and ensure people don’t go hungry.
c. Large Families: We also want to create larger food boxes for the several large families in our village, as the food bag is not nearly enough. Donations would help with food but also diapers, and other needed things.
2. TRANSPORTATION: We want to offer those in our village transportation, one at a time, to the nearest town, over 10 miles away. We can take them to the grocery store there which carries most everything, a pharmacy if needed (again many elderly who most likely are on medications; there is no pharmacy in our village), or to pay their utilities or other essential errands. Of course we would take extreme precautions to protect ourselves and our riders (disinfecting the car interior, mask & gloves, etc). Raising money through Go Fund Me would allow us to offer this service free of charge; as donations would pay for our gas.
3. OTHER IDEAS: Lots of brainstorming and talking to the Mayor in our village, trying to figure out other ways we may be able to help those in need.
QUARANTINE: The government April 24th quarantine date has now been extended to May 11th. Ukraine does not appear to be near the peak yet and the number of cases rises daily along with deaths. Just 2 weeks ago the virus reached our state and the town near us and more stringent quarantine measures were put into place (i.e., masks required, spraying down of roads & car tires with disinfectants, taking temperatures before entering stores, many businesses being closed, huge fines for violators, etc.). Additionally new ambulances have arrived in our area to help with house calls (Dr &/or nurse are on ambulances here). The closest hospital is packed and closed to new patients. Minor care is being given in tents set up on the hospital property and emergency cases are taken by ambulance immediately to the city, an hour away.
OUR VILLAGE: Khomutyntsi has a population of about 200 people. There are predominately elderly in the village but also a couple of large families with children; the rest are a mix of other ages and family sizes. The school in the village is small but has 60+ students in it, so +25% of the population is children.
TRANSPORTATION: There are only 5 buses in and out of our village a day, but during the quarantine the buses are not running at all. Most in our village do not have cars so they are really impacted by the lack of public transportation.
STORES: There is a very little one room store in our village and a little kiosk. Their main products are bread, ice cream, salt, candy, cooking oil, etc. NO meat, NO dairy, almost NO canned goods, NO vegetables, NO fruit, etc.. But of course the prices are a little higher as the items are transported into the village. Some in the village mighthave family in the city with a car, but if the villager is older, then bringing them food and visiting them is extremely risky.
VILLAGE LIFE: Life in the village is wrapped around the garden and animals, so there is constant work. NOW is planting season, so there is the question of buying seeds in addition to the routine issue of animal feed. Because the open air markets are closed there are NO chicks, ducklings, goslings, etc. for people to buy and raise for winter meat. A few essential kiosks in the open air markets in town were open until over a week ago when when people started coming down with the virus; so the markets are all locked up tight.
JOBS: Many villagers who do have jobs outside the village no longer have work, although a couple of people are considered essential and do work . . . but then how do they get to work? Taxi’s will come out to our village from the bigger town 10 miles away but it is costly, but many taxis are not even working. Some ride a bike the 10+ miles to work, then another 10+ back home.