Where there is help, there is hope...
Mar 16, 2022
How can I help… where can I donate… what can I do… Thank you to all the people who responded to my email last week asking those same questions in response to my concerns about Ukraine. So here is a link to an amazing non-profit that has done so much for so many over the years… Caritas Caritas Polska. This charity does not have any massive marketing materials or promotion initiatives and you are unlikely to hear about them. However, Caritas is a part of Catholic charities and an international organization that has been supporting the region for decades particularly during communism and then established a formal presence in Poland and Ukraine in 1990.
My personal connection with Caritas happened in the early 80s in Poland. When I was a young girl, Poland was under Martial law from December 1981 until July 1983 due to the communist government take over and the quelling of any opposition such as the Solidarity movement. This resulted in a tremendous economic catastrophe for all Polish people during these years and well after 1983. For several years… all basic necessities were rationed. Things like food, clothing, shoes, basic hygiene products. And even when we were given the ration stamps, there were still a lot of problems getting the items. Ironically, vinegar was the only item that you could get on the empty store shelves.
Clothing, shoes, toys and sweets were practically absent for years. As a school child, I remember when these donated items were received by local Polish churches from Caritas abroad. The church then distributed these items either directly to us or to the schools themselves. The day these packages arrived was kind of like Christmas for us kids. Somehow, we found out about the arrival, I don’t even know how. I remember how we all gathered in our classrooms as teachers were announcing our names alphabetically to collect the items. I remember sitting in the classroom having an eye on brown warm stockings… hoping and praying that no one else got them before me. I was laser focused on the other students… keeping my fingers crossed that they selected something else from the donation pile. And I guess luck was with me. I got those stockings.
Obviously, my story is nothing compared to the devastating trauma that is affecting all the children and their parents currently evacuating from Ukraine… and those who will be fleeing this war-torn country for days, weeks and months. I am sharing this personal story with you in the hopes that we all realize that any act of kindness for the Ukrainian people today is sure to make a difference in their lives. That kindness definitely did for me and is something I remember for the rest of my life.