Tag Archives: emergency supplies for Ukraine

New Momentum for Save Ukraine Now

(left to right) Leo Bard, Executive VP, Save Ukraine Now; Dr. Gary Kellner, President, Save Ukraine Now; Pastor Alfred Cockfield, Jr., God’s Battalion of Prayer; Ali Cinar, Vice President, Turkish Heritage

Save Ukraine Now has passed the aspirational stage and is stepping up to become a major player in humanitarian relief for Ukraine. After kick-off events in Chicago and Detroit, Save Ukraine Now has filled multiple shipping containers with emergency supplies and sent them to the nation, thanks in part to the stellar work of the Detroit Ukrainian American Civic Committee. The Committee has filled two containers and has raised more than $165,000 for SUN.

SUN’s strategy of building these collaborative partnerships has mobilized thousands of people across the country.

Our New York City network is also making major strides thanks to the leadership of SUN Executive Vice President, Leo Bard, in building a strategic alliance with the Assembly of the World Diasporas. The Assembly has brought together a nationwide consortium to support charity events for Ukraine and to organize both ethnic communities and volunteer groups to collect clothes, blankets, medical equipment and supplies, hygiene items and food.

Our diverse support from faith-based organizations rose to the next level as Mr. Bard started to mobilize the Muslim community to help those displaced by the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Mr. Mohammad Razvi, Executive Director of the Council of Peoples Organization, offered the use of more than 3,000 square feet of storage space in a neighborhood community center to store donated goods.

The Assembly of the World Diasporas also helped to enlist Chicago-based Re-MED Services and secured their commitment to contribute medical equipment and products worth $100,000. Similarly, the New York-based company, Vitaly Homecare Supplies, will donate similar items worth $104,000.

Pastor Gilford Monrose of the Mount Zion Church of God and Pastor Alfred Cockfield, Jr. of God’s Battalion of Prayer Church will help with the logistics, organizing the collection of donations in their parishes and arranging a press conference for New York media at the Brooklyn Borough Hall. President Ravshan Tagiyev of the Assembly of Nationalities of Ukraine will provide critical sponsorship and organizational assistance and will help with coordination as well.

Other communities are stepping up independently. The Spencerport Ministerial Alliance in New York is sponsoring a city-wide initiative in September. Living Waters Community Church in Meadville, PA is launching a similar effort soon, and Church in the Son in Orlando, FL is already underway.

SUN’s strategy of building these collaborative partnerships has mobilized thousands of people across the country. While we can’t report on every new development in this blog entry, we look forward to acknowledging many of our key relationships in a new section of our website, currently under construction.

Thank you for all you do.

— Gary Kellner

Hostages to the News Cycle

The American people are held hostage to the 24/7 news cycle.

Stories explode into our consciousness based on their intensity and the knack of our media to run with them over and over again in an endless loop. When ISIS first beheaded an American, the YouTube video transformed public opinion even after a profound weariness based on a decade of war.

For generations, news editors have told their reporters, “If it bleeds, it leads.” That still holds for television, social media, talk radio and the multitude of outlets in today’s media.

Slowly developing stories such as the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine get short shrift. A couple of deaths a day, a handful of refugees, do not get covered. Unfortunately, after several months, the situation becomes qualitatively different. Ten refugees is not a story, ten refugees a day since April 2014 is a catastrophe. But that story has yet to break through the “white noise” of the news cycle.

We have watched the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine morph into a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe. Over the last year, the number of displaced people has skyrocketed from a few thousand to more than 1.2 million. More than five million people have been affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine—1.7 million of them children. Villages have been leveled by barrages of Grad rockets and field artillery.

The people of Ukraine desperately need our help.

And those of us who understand the reality of this terrible conflict must find ways to break through the white noise to let the American people know. Because when they are awakened to injustice, the American people always take action. That is at the heart of the Ukraine Survival Campaign — a national campaign to fill shipping containers with clothes, personal hygiene items, medical supplies and other necessities of life.

In a few weeks, we will formally launch the campaign in Chicago and Detroit with a series of high-profile events. Our delegation, led by former NATO Commander, General (ret.) Wesley Clark, will include the leaders of Ukraine’s major faith communities who will participate in prayer breakfasts, press events and fundraising dinners.

By taking our case directly to the people in cities across America, we will arouse their compassion and break through the white noise. When that happens, thousands of people who might otherwise become grim statistics will have the opportunity for happy, healthy lives.