Tag Archives: Ukraine emergency supplies

The Multiplier


We can accomplish more working together than we ever can apart. That’s a basic insight of both the Jewish and Christian traditions. More than 3,000 years ago, King David wrote:

One can put a thousand to flight,  And two can put 10,000 to flight.

One of the Proverbs says: “Many hands make light work.”

A young rabbi from Galilee said something similar a thousand years later:

Whenever two or three of you agree, touching any one thing, it shall be done.

Working in conjunction with the Ukrainian-American Civic Committee and local faith communities, the campaign has packed more than 1,500 boxes with clothes and basic necessities of life …

Which is to say, cooperation is a multiplier. We are seeing this in cities across America in our Ukraine Survival Campaign, a national effort to fill shipping containers with the basic necessities of life needed by 1.4 million persons displaced by the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Detroit is setting the pace for the national campaign. Working in conjunction with the Ukrainian-American Civic Committee and local faith communities, the campaign has packed more than 1,500 boxes with clothes and basic necessities of life, as well as obtaining larger items such as hospital beds and wheelchairs. It’s enough to fill two containers.

Mayor James Fouts of Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, announced a city-wide initiative by placing receptacles for collecting clothes on city property and including a flyer with residents’ water bills requesting donations. As a result, hundreds of people have connected to the project who have no Ukrainian roots or connection; they are simply people who care.

Epic Events, a local non-profit organization, sponsored a cruise for 20-somethings on the Detroit River on June 28th to raise awareness and funds for Save Ukraine Now.

The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit has announced a “Children Helping Children” talent show on October 23rd at the Detroit Opera House to benefit Save Ukraine Now, a Syrian refugee relief organization and an African organization yet to be named.

Everyday, stories like these are pouring into our office from Chicago, Orlando, Baltimore and Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Hundreds of faith-based and civic organizations are joining the cause, and we are just starting.

Cooperation has become the multiplier. And we have not yet begun to see what can happen if our campaign goes viral, but we will.

How to Save Ukraine Now

Yesterday, while walking through Midway Airport in Chicago, I received a phone call from Mark Carrara, pastor of the Highpoint Community Church in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Several weeks ago, Highpoint launched a campaign to fill a 40-foot container with clothes, blankets and personal hygiene items for the people displaced by the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Mark’s an interesting guy. Trained as an engineer, Mark holds an M.S. in aeronautical engineering and an MBA. He is wired to be strategic. Even though Mark feels deeply, he is not prone to work out of his emotions, and yet when Mark learned of the crisis in Ukraine, he was one of the first leaders to respond.

His church took a special offering to fill a truck with humanitarian goods, and when I told him about Ukraine Survival, SUN’s national campaign to ship emergency supplies to Ukraine, Mark decided to launch his own effort in Port Saint Lucie. He plans to recruit faith communities and civic organizations to the cause. So, I wasn’t surprised when Mark called. I was surprised by what he reported.

“I’m going to need a container right away,” Mark told me. “We have collected enough bags to fill a 60-foot unit and have just placed a storage pod on the church property.”

“We haven’t even taken this out to the community yet,” Mark reported.

Something similar happened in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where Living Waters Church has collected tens of thousands of dollars in medical supplies. A local congregation in Merritt Island, Florida, has amassed more bags of clothes than the number of people in their church. Some listeners to the church’s radio broadcast have driven up to two hours to join the cause.

Most people have never heard of small cities like Port Saint Lucie, Meadville and Merritt Island, but the people there have discovered how to save Ukraine — one person at a time.

When you see the statistics about the humanitarian crisis, it is tempting to throw up your hands in despair. More than a million people have been displaced by the conflict; 1.7 million children need physical or psychological care.

None of these three communities will save everyone threatened by hunger, sickness and disease, but each container will carry enough goods to give hundreds of people a chance for survival. If we combine their response with other churches, synagogues and civic organizations across the United States, we will save many more.

It Takes a Team

Leadership guru John Maxwell has famously said, “If you’re going to do a big job, you need a big team.”

The challenges presented by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine are staggering — more than 5 million people affected by the conflict, 1.1 million internally displaced persons, 1.7 million children need care and counseling.

Last week, I met with a top UN official in Ukraine. She spent the last 16 years on the ground in war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, the Central African Republic and Myanmar. She is smart, tough and hard to scare.

After the pleasantries were over, she looked at me and said, “We want to be your partners.” Of course, I asked why.

She said, “If you don’t work with us, people will die. It’s that simple.”

Sometimes team is the difference between life and death.

That’s what we have been doing the last few months, building a team big enough to take on the suffering of a nation. Next month, we launch a national campaign called Ukraine Survival to fill shipping containers with emergency supplies for people whose lives are hanging by a thread. Save Ukraine Now is approaching thousands of churches, synagogues and civic associations across the United States to fill shipping containers with emergency supplies and ship them to Ukraine.

Teams have been organized in Chicago and Detroit to mobilize city-wide efforts. Detroit is setting the standard for team building: more than 20 organizations in the Detroit Metro area have joined with us in this effort. In the last few weeks, churches in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana and Illinois have launched campaigns in their communities.

It’s still not enough.

We need you. The people of Ukraine need you.

Will you join a team of people from many different backgrounds and incredibly diverse gifts to help save a nation? Would you organize a campaign in your church or community to fill at least one container?

Over three or four weeks in April and May, you ask the members of your congregation or civic organization to fill at least one plastic bag with clothes, shoes and blankets and bring them to the church to be loaded onto a container we will send to you.

Time is running out for thousands of people in Ukraine. But with the efforts of a big team, we can make sure it doesn’t.