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Monetary donations are the best way to support Ukrainians

Yuriy Safronov, 56, of Ballwin, holds a Ukrainian flag signed by Ukrainian military members on Feb. 28, during a demonstration at the Arch to bring awareness to the Russian invasion of the country.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Yuriy Safronov, 56, of Ballwin, holds a Ukrainian flag signed by Ukrainian military members on Feb. 28, during a demonstration at the Arch to bring awareness to the Russian invasion of the country.

There’s been an outpouring of support for Ukraine and its people both in St. Louis and nationally since Russia invaded about two weeks ago.

“We all have to ready ourselves for long-term support to that country. This isn’t going to end in a few days,” said Kasia Hampton, an EMS physician currently doing specialty training at Washington University.

Hampton was born and raised in Poland and is traveling back to that country’s border with Ukraine to volunteer her time and medical expertise. As a naturalized U.S. citizen, she explained she can help coordinate efforts among different agencies on the ground as a volunteer with Global Response Management.

“For me, this was the only right and honorable decision to make,” Hampton said. “There’s a lot of organizations out of the United States trying to provide meaningful help. I thought I can be that missing link for a lot of them.”

Hampton said St. Louis-area residents can help in their own way — “being ready to either receive some of those families in the United States or provide some form of financial support to a variety of organizations long term.”

Eugene Logusch, the pastoral administrator of St. Mary’s Assumption Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, agrees with this sentiment. For now, monetary donations to humanitarian aid organizations are a good bet, he said.

He listed CARE, the National Bank of Ukraine, the Ukrainian ArchEparchy of Philadelphia and Catholic Relief Services as examples. This isn’t an exhaustive list, he said, adding there are many other organizations distributing aid.

“Any humanitarian aid channel that directly goes to on the ground humanitarian needs in Poland is absolutely critical, literally for the women and children,” Logusch said. “Anything that can provide medicines, supplies, even food potentially that can get across the border directly on the ground into Ukraine is also of great value.”

Hampton is among thoserequesting donations for the medical work she anticipates doingonce she lands in Poland later this week. She said she intends to help medics in Ukraine by delivering ultrasound equipment and using video communication to aid them with diagnostics and more complex operations, like nerve blocks that relieve pain for people who have lost limbs.

“This kind of expertise, a lot of those doctors do not have,” Hampton said. “We want to start helping them provide medical care locally to the patients.”

Beyond money, many on the ground in Ukraine need bulletproof vests and other ballistic protective gear, she said.

But more generic clothing and other supplies from the U.S. aren’t as helpful to send, said Logusch.

“The channels that I’ve explored, that’s even hit or miss trying to get it into Poland and to the right people,” he said. “Where that will become a real, real need, will be when, as we all presume, Ukrainian refugees begin to arrive in the St. Louis area.”

Humanitarian agencies estimate more than 2 million Ukrainian people have left the country since the Russian invasion. They’re almost entirely women and children, as men between ages 18 and 60 are required to stay in the country, Logusch said.

“People need to be at the ready and already thinking about this,” he said. “Right now the Polish people are doing this and eventually St. Louis people may very well have to do this.”

Organizations listed in this article you can donate to:

Eric Schmid covers the Metro East for St. Louis Public Radio as part of the journalism grant program: Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

Eric Schmid covers business and economic development for St. Louis Public Radio.