I am sad to report that it is the time of disaster…again. I have said many times over the years that Grundy County needs to take care of its own, which we have done time and time again. During my time at the Community Foundation, we have had five disasters in eight years: 1 flood, 2 tornadoes, 1 pandemic, and 1 lithium battery fire. Thank you to everyone who donated money and volunteer time to these response and recovery efforts. I especially want to thank the mayors, county council members and first responders who spent countless hours and sleepless nights protecting us and helping us recover.
On March 5, tornadoes moved through Madison County, Iowa, southwest of Des Moines, killing seven people. In all disasters, money is the greatest gift you can send. A disaster fund has been established at the Madison County Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. You can read the official press release here and click on the internal link to donate online: http://madisoncountyfoundation.org/
The invasion of Ukraine is causing suffering among the locals and has caused other locals to flee. A number of charities around the world meet these needs and your online donation can help. However, it can be difficult for those of us in the Midwest to know and trust charities serving foreign countries.
On the US Charities Aid Foundation website, I found some familiar names that give me comfort that our donations will be used to help the residents of Ukraine. I’ll highlight a few here and you can find the full list at https://www.cafamerica.org/disaster-ukraine-relief/
United States Fund for UNICEF: UNICEF’s lifesaving work is intensifying in Ukraine, including trucking safe water to conflict-affected areas; pre-position emergency health, hygiene and education supplies as close as possible to communities close to the line of contact; working with municipalities to ensure there is immediate help for children and families in need; psychosocial care for children traumatized by chronic insecurity.
International Committee of the Red Cross: Our colleagues at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are responding to urgent humanitarian needs and must be able to continue their lifesaving work on the ground on both sides of the line of contact. They supply water to Dokuchaevsk Hospital for running services and to Donetsk Municipality for essential services. They are preparing to set up five water points of 5000 liters each for people to draw water in Olenovka and are looking for ways to restore water supply to health and educational institutions in Mariupol . They also connect missing persons to their families.
SOS-Kinderdörfer weltweit Hermann-Gmeiner-Fonds Deutschland eV: SOS Children’s Villages is currently preparing emergency aid for at least 15,000 people in Ukraine. This includes, for example: transportation to safe areas; accommodation in rental housing; groceries, toiletries and blankets; medical aid; psychosocial support after stress and shock. The aid organization wishes in particular to support children without parents as well as foster families and families in need. Concrete measures are continually being developed to enable and ensure the necessary assistance.
Polish Red Cross: The Polish Red Cross is constantly monitoring the situation and adapting its activities to prevailing conditions. They are launching a fundraiser to help the victims of the war in Ukraine. All their actions will be coordinated with the activities of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Ukrainian Red Cross, which operate at the scene, Jerzy said. Bisek, President of the Polish Red Cross. To cross. The funds raised will be allocated first, among other things, to the purchase of food, dressings and other priority needs.
United Kingdom: ShelterBox activates a team in Eastern Europe to assess the humanitarian needs of people displaced by the Ukrainian crisis. Specializing in emergency shelter and basic household items, the ShelterBox team coordinates with other humanitarian organizations in the region to ensure they reach the most vulnerable who are often women, children, elderly and disabled people. ShelterBox tailors relief programs to each situation and in the past similar responses have provided warm winter blankets, mattresses, winter clothes and heaters, solar lamps, shelter kits and tents.
Doctors Without Borders United States: Médecins Sans Frontières implements emergency response activities in and around Ukraine. In the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, our teams have already distributed medical kits to treat war-wounded and provided trauma telemedicine training to 30 surgeons from eastern Ukraine. Our emergency teams have arrived at the Polish-Ukrainian border and are trying to get personnel and supplies into Ukraine, and to set up emergency response activities on both sides of the border. Teams will also conduct assessments along Ukraine’s border with Russia and Belarus. Our staff saw many exhausted refugees crossing the border from Ukraine to Poland on foot, by car and by bus, some with babies less than a month old. We have donated basic shelter items to a reception center in Poland and are working to scale up our response.
As we say at #GiveGrundy, it doesn’t matter where you give…just give. And if we can help you find the right charities to meet your giving goals, so much the better.
Our prayers – and our money – are with Iowa and Ukraine this week.
Julianne Buck is Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Grundy County, located in the historic Coleman Hardware Building, 520 W. Illinois Avenue, Morris. She can be reached at 815-941-0852 and [email protected]