When war broke out in Ukraine, the Daughters of Charity from the Slovak Province went to help refugees crossing the Slovak border in Vyšne Nemecke and Ubli where people from Ukraine arrive through the town of Uzhhorod. At the same time Sr. Damiána, the Visitatrix, brought humanitarian aid to Perechyn and Svalava in Zacarpathia region in Ukraine where the Daughters of Charity continue to work.
The community in Košice became a center of support for war refugees in Slovakia, providing shelter for mothers and children fleeing from Ukraine, who needed sleep, food, and to gain strength for the journey to their “final destination”. Many children from the orphanage also found shelter there. Volunteers from other branches of the Vincentian Family, including many VMY members, help the sisters in Košice. In many places in Slovakia and the Czech Republic gifts and necessary products are collected and either transported immediately to the sisters on the Slovak-Ukrainian border or to Košice, where they are sorted and distributed so that some remain on site to meet the needs of refugee women and children. In Stara Boleslav (Czech Republic), the sisters collected gifts from local residents together with the city authorities. The gifts were transported directly to the border.
Some organize the collection of goods at their place, such as VMY members from the Ružinov parish in Bratislava. Others, youth from VMY in Orava have come to help the sisters in the house in Košice. They help unload donations, clean and prepare rooms to accommodate the next newcomers, register medical humanitarian aid going to Ukraine, and help serve lunches to the homeless….
The Provincial of the Province of Slovakia of the Congregation of the Mission, Fr. Tomáš Brezáni, C.M., also addressed an appeal to all members of the Vincentian Family. In it we read:
“Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the spiritual Family of St. Vincent de Paul in Slovakia has been trying to find concrete ways to help. They try to help together and in a focused way. The Vincentians, Daughters of Charity and Satmarian Sisters from Slovakia who are in Ukraine are doing well, thank God, and they ask for your prayers very much. They are present in the places where the most difficult battles are being fought and they want to stay there together with the people who need them even more now.
To this day it is not known how they can be helped, apart from intense prayer. The situation is changing every moment. They have asked for concrete material help, to which we will respond. Therefore, we encourage all of you to be generous and ask for help. You can get involved in the following ways:
- by making a donation to the accounts of the Hunger Fund (Boj proti hladu), which has been in existence for 15 years and helps people in the poorest countries of the world. You can find more information about it at www. bojprotihladu.sk
- humanitarian aid can be brought to the Church of St. Vincent de Paul at Tomášiková 8 in Bratislava, from Monday to Friday during the office hours (15.00-17.00)
You may bring what is urgently requested by the Daughters of Charity in Košice. The gifts will be delivered to them. The Sisters help dozens of refugees every day at their home in Košice, but also at the border with Ukraine.
Most needed items are:
- toiletries – toothbrushes and toothpaste, soaps, shower gels and shampoos, inhalers and disinfectants – especially small pocket packs and baby diapers, as these are mothers with small children
- Non-perishable food – canned goods, baby food and sweets – preferably cookies and energy bars
- Medicines – basic medicines commonly available at the pharmacy (OTC) – vitamins, painkillers, anti-fever, sore throat, baby medicines, powdered baby milk, bandages, dressing patches….
- Blankets, sleeping bags and towels, but NO clothes!
We believe that through this concrete gesture of love for our neighbors and our involvement we will show our concern for those in need who knock on our door today.
On behalf of all those whom you have helped to feel safe again through your modest donation, we express our human appreciation and sincere gratitude.
May a gracious God, the giver of all good, reward you many times over.”