Tanya struggles down the ninth set of stairs in her apartment building. The cold wind tussles her white hair as she exits the building. Glancing to the left, she is relieved to see that neighbor Volodia has cut firewood and stacked it next to the communal cooking area.
The stove is simple, constructed from a few concrete blocks and scrap metal. The soup in her pots is simple, without meat, but Tanya is grateful there is something to eat. This is how she has cooked for the past eight months, but she wonders what it will be like when it gets really cold this winter…
Tanya’s story is typical for thousands in recently liberated areas. Life under occupation was focused on survival. Residents who had only their windows knocked out were considered fortunate. Many suffered the complete loss of their home or apartment.
The stories of survival are hard. They include spending night after night in dank basements with ceilings so low it was impossible to stand up straight. They include filling pop bottles with hot water from the wood-fired kettle on the street and using them as mini heaters during the night. They include drinking water from dirty ditches and mud puddles because there was no fresh water.
But perhaps among the most difficult was the emotional stress… Who will be killed or harmed next? Which house or apartment building will be destroyed tomorrow? Is it safe to go outside?
In some villages, all the vehicles were taken by the occupiers when they left. There was no transportation to find and bring back supplies.
One of our teams collected propane cylinders from residents left in a village bereft of transportation and traveled over 300 miles round trip to get them filled.
The road was littered with mines, and they continuously tried to divert their thoughts away from the awful scene of accidentally detonating a mine with a vehicle filled with gas cylinders!
With winter rapidly approaching, our teams have been purchasing and distributing flashlights, blankets, fuel, small propane hot plates and heaters, and other supplies. Small appliances are often shared by multiple families and used sparingly.
Blanket Project Update
As many of you know, AURA has received requests for thousands of blankets. The response to the request for blankets here in the US has been overwhelming. God has moved the hearts of many to fill this great need! We thank everyone who is helping with this project. A special thanks to the drop off point coordinators and to the processing teams.
The first container was filled on November 3 and is on its way. As of today, enough blankets have been received to fill the second container and part of the third.
We are grateful to the processing team in Brookville, OH for their hard work and commitment to prepare these first three containers. We are winding down processing there but are starting operations in two new locations; Cumberland Clothing Center in Newville, PA and another in Daviess County, IN.
We welcome donations for comforters, sleeping bags, and blankets. While winter clothes are valuable, the desperate need for warmth makes blankets the most versatile means for helping the greatest number of people efficiently. We trust that some of the clothing needs can be met by other missions operating in Ukraine.
We are also purchasing blankets in Ukraine. If you would like to help by making a donation to purchase blankets, you can do so online or mail a check for “Blanket Project’ to Deed and Truth Ministries.
Following are the contacts for the two processing centers:
Cumberland County, PA Drop-off
Location Contact: Alvin Oberholtzer
Cumberland Clothing Center
38 Ridge Rd.
Newville, PA 17241
Daviess County, IN Dropoff Location
Contact: Lonnie Wagler
3590 N 700 E
Montgomery, IN 47558
We will receive blankets until around Christmas. Once the last container is filled, any blankets that didn’t fit into the containers will be sent to Christian Aid Ministries to be sent where needed most.
Before dropping off loads of blankets, please call ahead to schedule a time. For any general questions about the blanket project, contact Jesse Troyer at 931-248-4088.
Thank you again and may God continue to bless and direct His Work!
-Josh Eicher for the AURA team
AURA (Anabaptist Ukrainian Refugee Assistance) is a team of Anabaptist brethren, most of whom have had opportunity to live in Ukraine, with a burden of helping the current crisis. Currently our efforts are focused on the critical needs inside the country. AURA has partnered with Deed and Truth Ministries for receiving and distributing funds. All funds received for this effort are sent directly to the needs.
Donations can be made online at deedandtruthministries.org or mailed to:
Deed & Truth Ministries
906 Tennessee Ave.
Etowah, TN 37331
Contact: Andrew Yoder 937-822-1884