Well, this update is loooong overdue. We haven’t stopped working to support Ukrainian women and children and we haven’t forgotten about you. It’s just been a busy time.
As many of you know, Daria and Dan Absher along with Sue and Jamie Colbourne launched Refuse To Quit in April 2022, to support Ukrainian families, particularly women and children, who have been displaced from their homes due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In April 2022, the Colbournes spent time in Romania volunteering and meeting people who could help us with RTQ’s mission. In late July, the Colbournes and the Abshers went to Romania and Ukraine to continue the volunteer work and meet other people who could assist in helping the Ukrainians. The four of us had hoped to return to Romania and possibly Ukraine in late November/early December this year to continue our volunteer work. However, due to Putin’s recent drone bombing throughout Ukraine (including a town 85 miles away from where we delivered supplies in July), we have decided to postpone our visit until next year.
We appreciate all the donations we have received to date. The following is a synopsis of how the funds donated to Refuse to Quit have been used since our July visit.
1. Donated $10,000 to MOM plus ME, a charitable foundation based in Ukraine whose mission is to help children, particularly orphans. This Ukrainian foundation used the donated funds for diapers, baby food, and medicine.
2. Donated $10,000 to City of Goodness, a Ukrainian foundation that helps homeless mothers and their children. City of Goodness used the funds for housing and a car for women and children displaced by the war.
3. Our friends Cristi and Igor have set up a supply chain to deliver food and other supplies to Ukraine. In October, we purchased $12,000 worth of vegetables and supplies, which Cristi and Igor delivered to refugees in and around Chernivtsi, Ukraine. In the past few months, this network has organized and personally delivered supplies and food to nearly 1,000 displaced people living in western Ukraine.
4. Late November, we sent another $12,500 to Cristi and Igor for additional food delivery to Western Ukraine and the purchase of 3generators. Some of the food is on backorder due to low supplies in Botoșani, Romania where our friends purchase the food. Warehouses are out of cooking oil, vegetables, and sugar. The generators are on backorder too. The war has affected not only Ukraine but supply chains in the surrounding countries.
A portion of the supplies Cristi purchased and delivered to Igor for distribution to Ukrainian families in need in October. (See article photo)
5. We have committed $20,000 to Mission Ukraine, an NGO founded by our friend Nataliya Lukyanova. Her NGO has raised an additional $8,000. Our combined total funds of $28,000 will remodel the aqua rehabilitation center in the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv. This hospital is the largest children’s hospital in Ukraine proving highly specialized care to over 20,000 children annually. Nataliya will work directly with the General Director of the hospital in their renovation of the rehabilitation aqua zone. This aqua zone hasn’t been operational in 12 years. The pool will provide much needed therapeutic rehab for children.
We called our friend Victoria (her young son had the heart surgery in Romania this past summer) on November 26th. They returned to their home in Vinnitsa, Ukraine. The separation from her husband was just too difficult. She has about 1 hour of electricity a day, never knowing when that hour will occur. She keeps her bedroom light on and when the room lights up, she plugs in her phone and starts boiling water and cooking. On the day we spoke, the power came on at 3:30 am, she rose to make breakfast and dinner. Transportation is a nightmare. The electric trams aren’t working, and neither are the streetlights. She is constantly cold. We can’t imagine living in these conditions.
Although we wish we could return to Romania and Ukraine this year, we believe the prudent thing to do is to monitor the situation and send funds to organizations and individuals who can best help Ukrainians impacted by this brutal war. Thank you for your ongoing support. Speaking of support, here’s what a friend is doing are doing for Ukraine.
1. Dwayne and Teresa Clark along with their company, Aegis Livinghave organized a drive amongst their residents to collect warm socks, sleeveless t-shirts and underwear for the Ukrainian serviceman. Our Ukrainian friends have told us stories of frontline soldiers wearing holey socks, owning only one pair of underwear and bathing with handwipes. The residents have opened their hearts and purchased over 4,000+ pounds of the items listed above. Aegis Living is working with a Ukrainian church to get the items sent to Ukraine. See attached photo of the drive. The women on the right is a Ukrainian and a resident at an Aegis Living.