Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on Feb. 24, millions of people have fled the country and are seeking refuge in neighboring countries including Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. There are major humanitarian concerns for both internally displaced people and refugees. Many of these Ukrainians fleeing their homes need shelter and such basic necessities as food, water and toiletries. Care for people also includes pastoral and psychological support to address the trauma they’ve endured.
Lutheran Disaster Response is accompanying our companions in Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well as such ecumenical partners as Lutheran World Federation and Church World Service, in their humanitarian responses to the crisis. These partners provide refugees with immediate support and supplies such as food, blankets, water and hygiene kits. Your gifts will support people impacted by this crisis. Gifts designated to “Eastern Europe Crisis Response” will be used in full (100%) for direct response to assist those affected.
There are many ways to give:
- You may write a check to St. Mark’s — including “Eastern Europe Crisis Response” in the memo line — and place it into the yellow pew envelopes
- You may send checks or money orders by mail to Lutheran Disaster Response, P.O. Box 1809, Merrifield VA 22116-8009
- Give by phone, by calling (800) 638-3522 (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST)
- Give online at https://community.elca.org/eastern-europe-crisis-response
Be sure to write “Eastern Europe Crisis Response” in the memo line of your check.
Together, we pray for our siblings in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. May God be with them in their time of need.
A prayer for peace:
Merciful God, we pray for peace as war rages in Ukraine. Shelter all living in fear; protect those seeking refuge in neighboring countries; sustain families separated by the horrors of war; tend to those who are injured; comfort all who mourn their dead. Direct your people into the way of peace. In your mercy, receive our prayer.
Many of our neighbors in the United States and around the world are facing disasters and you can provide real help. Donations to Lutheran Disaster Response’s general fund enable us to react quickly whenever and wherever disaster strikes, including at times such as these, when the need is great. With multiple disasters threatening the lives of people around the world, will you consider making a gift?
* In Australia, intense wildfires have been raging across the country. In New South Wales, more than 1,200 homes have been destroyed and nearly 9 million acres have burned. In Victoria, over 4,000 people were trapped by the bushfires, which forced them to take refuge along the beachfronts and in boats. The wildfire season is expected to get only worse due to the severe drought experienced throughout the country. Lutheran Disaster Response is sending a grant to the Lutheran Church in Australia so it can continue to respond immediately, providing food and other necessities.
* In Indonesia, heavy rain caused severe flooding and landslides in the greater Jakarta area. More than 60 lives were lost and close to 100,000 people lost their homes. The government opened 255 evacuation centers as temporary shelters for displaced families. Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP, the Batak Christian Protestant Church), a companion of the ELCA, opened a tent in Jakarta to provide free medical checkups to families affected by the flooding. HKBP also supplied cleaning materials to help communities remove debris and clean water-damaged homes. Lutheran Disaster Response is providing support to HKBP to continue the relief and recovery activities.
* In Puerto Rico, a series of earthquakes up to a 6.4 magnitude have killed at least one person and caused power outages and widespread damage. The earthquakes come as many residents of the U.S. territory are still recovering from the 2017 hurricanes, painstakingly repairing or rebuilding their damaged homes. Lutheran Disaster Response is communicating with the Caribbean Synod and Lutheran Social Services of Puerto Rico about the best way to support the recovery effort.
With your support, we are able to respond with Christ’s love, hope and healing — and practical support for disaster survivors.
The Rev. Daniel Rift, director, ELCA World Hunger and Lutheran Disaster Response Funding
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America