World Jewish Relief has raised £3m for its Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

To meet Ukrainians’ urgent needs over the next six to 12 months WJR needs a minimum of £5m. 

In Ukraine, WJR is responding across the country by providing cash transfers, food and medical equipment. They are also continuing homecare and providing psychological support and assisting partners to evacuate vulnerable people. Working with the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK, WJR is providing over 40,000 emergency food packages.

In Poland and Moldova, the organisation is helping partners scale up capacity to welcome refugees. Services include providing cash transfers, legal advice, food and shelter for displaced Ukrainians.

WJR has also sent specialists from humanitarian and refugee teams to support partners in expanding capacity to assist refugees fleeing Ukraine.

In the UK, WJR has offered the government support and expertise in refugee employment, and have urged the Home Office to extend humanitarian visas to Ukrainians.

“This has been a week of despair for World Jewish Relief’s partners and clients in Ukraine,” commented WJR Stacey Swimer. “I have had tears down the phone line as partners take desperate measures to evacuate as many civilians from major cities as possible.” 

Stacy thanked the Jewish community for its generosity and urged people to continue donating and sharing the appeal. “We stand with the people of Ukraine, and will be there in the weeks, months and years to come with support,” she said. 

WJR has helped facilitate evacuations from conflict hotspots Kharkiv, Kyiv, Zaporizhia and Mariupol and linked with partners in western Ukraine, Poland and Germany.

WJR has supported JCC Krakow, Kyiv-based JUSI and Dreamland and 2U, and in a display of network cooperation, sent funds to Hesed Nefesh in Poltava for food and medicines for Hesed Shaare Tikva in Kharkiv. 

WJR has also supported JDC in evacuations and Turbota Pro Litneh to benefit older people.

WJR are ready to welcome refugees. In preparation, WJR is adapting its STEP programme.

Manchester-based Orach Chaim Foundation (British Friends of Kyiv), meantime, has evacuated around 2,000 people from Kyiv and other cities and towns in Ukraine.

Working with the Chief Rabbi of Ukraine, Rabbi Yaakov D Bleich, 40 bus loads have transported people to refugee camps and safe havens. More funds are required due to huge resettlement costs.

The foundation runs refugee camps in Peremyshlyany, Yampil and Belz in western Ukraine. And they are providing armed security for an assisted living home in Kyiv where there are 100 elderly residents.

Costs have escalated. Each bus from Kyiv to the west of Ukraine before the war cost $500. Today, it is $28,000. The cost for the 2-hour journey, includes security and a military escort to leave the Kyiv. 

Orach are partners with the American Friends of Kyiv along with others globally to save lives. 

The group has raised over $2.1m with the UK foundation, under the auspices of Rabbi Yechiel Emanuel and trustee Nathan Feldman, raising the second highest amount of $177,000.