The needs in Ukraine are changing and growing daily, based on the situation on the ground. We have compiled the most pressing needs that have been shared with us by our representatives in the communities in Ukraine.
1. Professional Psychologists will be needed to work with our communities and individuals in dealing with and processing the current reality. The situation has already deeply impacted the mental health of many of the members of our communities, with people already showing signs of PTSD. Professional psychologists and therapists will provide the needed support to improve their mental health by leading activity-based counselling sessions. This support is also extremely important for the children and young people, who need outlets for their mental health.
2. A safe camp for possible refugees is needed to provide respite and protection away from any possible violence or fighting. By providing a familiar family camp environment, close to the western border with Poland, women, children and families will be able to escape to a safe place, where the young people can be entertained and taken care of. Our communities in Kyiv, Kharkov and Odessa are at extreme risk because they are closest to where the Russian army is situated, and will likely need to be evacuated to Western Ukraine. Any planning for a potential escape will include reserving busses and other logistics ahead of time.
3. Basic goods and supplies have increased in price, partly because the government has raised the prices of most of the goods in the country, including food, gas and other essential materials. The taxes on imports have also doubled, making it even harder to receive goods from neighboring countries. Funds are desperately needed for even basic supplies in preparation for a possible war.
4. Vitamins, medicines and medical supplies are in short supply in the country due to people bulk buying in preparation for what may come, and most of the medicines left are not of good quality or reliable. The communities need more vitamins and medicines particularly for the more vulnerable and ill members of the communities, as well as for the children and young people. We hope to send packages with vitamins and other urgent supplies needed, despite the increased import taxes.
5. Mishloach Manot for Purim are on our minds as well, despite the ongoing turmoil. With the joyful holiday of Purim only a month away, it is more important than ever that our communities across Ukraine can celebrate this holiday and feel supported, as they usually do. Joy is severely lacking during this time, and the ability to send and receive mishloach manot will light up this dark time for our brothers and sisters across Ukraine.
6. Safe and secure synagogues/meeting centers are a crucial part of the communities in Kyiv, Kharkov, Odessa and Chernivtsi, now more than ever before, and are currently lacking any sort of security system. The synagogues are the center of their Masorti/Conservative Jewish life, and it is where people will likely gather in the case of an emergency. With a likely increase in violence and antisemitism, it is important that security measures such as cameras, security guards, as well as bomb shelters be installed as soon as possible.