Warehouses of food processing facilities inside Ukraine, full of high-quality goods, destined for export but not being sent due to war gave an idea of using solely local capacities and products for humanitarian aid, which manifested into the “Food for Good” project.
While daily news is saturated with stories from the front lines of Russian war in Ukraine and heroic resistance/retaliation of the Ukrainian Armed forces, there are unknown heroes of this war, who largely remain unnoticed but are integral part of what now is known as resilience of the Ukrainian Nation. These are volunteers of the Humanitarian front, who abandoned their comfortable lifestyle and are organizing, delivering, and distributing much needed medical supplies, food, and any other items for war affected population of Ukraine.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), while close to 8 million refugees found shelter around Europe, another 7 million are internally displaced from war affected areas and are scattered around different regions of Ukraine. Deliberate devastation of critical infrastructure by Russian missiles, profoundly worsens humanitarian situation across the country.
Although humanitarian crisis is not a new phenomenon, Ukrainian challenge differs drastically on many levels. We are dealing with a very developed country, with vibrant business community, with highly capable work force being it in engineering or science, with robust industry and with high standards of living. Hence, it’s not surprising that ethnic Ukrainians worldwide became primary sources and champions of humanitarian activities.
Ms. Aksenia Krupenko, who fulfilled her American Dream and became a successful business leader, put on hiatus most of her business projects worldwide and solely focused on collecting and supplying humanitarian aid to her fellow countrymen. “In Ukraine – time is life” is the moto of her activities. While many others were deliberating what and how, Ms. Krupenko managed to collaborate with her like-minded friends and formed the Revival Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to delivery of humanitarian promises. Her first allies appeared to be Georgians, who suffered Russian invasion and occupation in 2008. Temuri Yakobashvili, head of the Washington D.C. based boutique consultancy firm, also former Georgian senior official and ambassador to the U.S., became co-founder of the Foundation. His friend David Kezerashvili, former Defense Minister of Georgia, quickly responded to Foundation’s effort to organize first humanitarian airlift from the U.S., followed by 12 more planes in partnership with Ukrainian Wind Rose Airlines and the Ukrainian Postal Services. More than dozens of containers were successfully shipped to Ukraine and for today, up to 500 tons of humanitarian goods reached their recipients in 15 regions of Ukraine only through labors of Ms. Krupenko. Urgency of time pushed her to cut short atavistic bureaucratic hurdles, find trusted local partners, and focus only on needs, coming from recipients themselves.
Fifty days spent in Ukraine revealed to Ms. Krupenko not only difficulties of humanitarian undertakings but also ways to improve and increase effectiveness. One of the shocking discoveries was oatmeal, which arrived from the U.S. as a humanitarian package but was already expired and most importantly, it carried label “Made in Ukraine”! Soon she made yet another shocking discovery – warehouses of food processing facilities inside the country, full of high-quality goods, destined for export but not being sent due to war. Idea of using solely local capacities and products for humanitarian aid was immediately formed and it manifested into the “Food for Good” project. Vivid boxes with mythical Ukrainian beads necklace, containing 20lb of high calorie goods, enough to feed a family of two-three for a week, was already introduced only one month after inception of the idea. Now, all these boxes are just a click away for any individual or corporate donors around the globe to purchase for just $39.99 to $49.99 (with more products) and be delivered to the destination chosen by the donor. The US-Ukrainian Foundation with 30 years of experience in promoting US-Ukrainian relations, chaired by Ms. Nadia McConnel, championed the initiative and financed the initial thousands of boxes, which already reached families of war veterans. More are on their way to children’s hospitals, elderly people, and other vulnerable parts of society.
The Project resonated not only among recipients in Ukraine but also among leaders of food industry worldwide. Prior to Christmas, renowned Italian chef and restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi will host a fundraiser in “Fiola” Michelin star restaurant in Washington D.C., his way to share food and show solidarity with Ukrainian People.
“These boxes are not merely humanitarian aid” states Ms. Krupenko, “we are helping local volunteers, local businesses and their employees, lifting social burden from local authorities and hence combining all of that into socio-economic and humanitarian impact project. By creating this box in Ukraine with local products, we cut down gathering, transportation, customs clearance, management, and other expenses, to maximize the value of every penny donated. Many people around the globe, Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians alike, want to support people in Ukraine. We merely created an effective mechanism to fulfill their aspiration and therefore we call to all of them: click SHARE if you CARE!”.
Volunteers Came Together Around The World To Save Ukraine With Aid: An Exemplary Illustration Of How It Was Done: https://www.forbes.com/sites/melikkaylan/2022/07/24/how-volunteers-came-together-to-save-ukraine-with-aid-an-exemplary-illustration-of-how-it-was-done/?sh=1a035b8a1a38
Banding Together Unprecedented Act Of Charity For Ukraine: https://www.hometownstation.com/news-articles/banding-together-unprecedented-act-of-charity-for-ukraine-432869
Ukrainian Diaspora and David Kezerashvili behind successful aid transport from USA to Ukraine: https://euroweeklynews.com/2022/09/13/ukrainian-diaspora-and-david-kezerashvili-behind-successful-aid-transport-from-usa-to-ukraine/
MORE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE NEEDED FOR UKRAINE: https://yonkerstimes.com/more-humanitarian-assistance-needed-for-ukraine/
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