To the extent that children themselves want to become helpers, encourage responsible ways to assist. Children in one school in Maryland are writing letters to children in a sister school in the western Ukraine, electronic letters of support, assuring them of their friendship and sympathy, telling them about their days, sending their thoughts and prayers. They are offering a branch of compassion and friendship and normalcy in a time of chaos.
Point out to kids that acts of great evil, cruelty, and harm, often elicit the best from others: new depths of compassion and mercy. One thinks of the American experience of 9-11, and all those who raced to assist. (See our September 9-11 Heroes.) Right now, Poland has opened its borders to nearly 800,000 refugees, and not passively. Tens of thousands of volunteers from around that country and the world – people who did not know each other before March 1-- have come to that border to assist. And they can use our assistance.
If a school wishes to raise funds to help the 400,000 endangered children, international relief efforts are mobilizing. Doctors Without Borders already has medical teams on the ground. The UN World Food Program has organized for Ukrainian Emergency relief. Caritas Ukraine, which is supported by Catholic Relief Services, and Save the Children are also on site already with medical supplies, food, water, and refugee support. The appropriately named “Mercy Chefs” are sending food relief to Romanian and Polish border camps.
All these efforts will be make-shift and provisional, as we hope and pray for a miracle that saves the weaker nation from the stronger. The international community is ultimately on the hook. “Faithfulness is standing by those we love, those we serve, and what we believe.” Will we?
Mary Beth Klee
Since this blog was posted two weeks ago, more than three million refugees have fled Ukraine during an unabated Russian attack.
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