Depaul had been working in Ukraine for more than 15 years when the war broke out on February 24, 2022, carrying out humanitarian work based on the development of community networks, like the Catholic relief network at the local level.
The links with the community and the experience of all the years of work on the ground, have enabled Depaul to identify where the need was greatest and to respond quickly once the conflict broke out, bringing urgently needed food and transporting hygiene and medical supplies to the worst affected areas. In fact, Depaul is currently helping more than 20,000 people a day, and for many it is the only source of food and the only contact with the outside world.
United by our common commitment to serve the poorest, the General Council International of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) signed a collaboration agreement with Depaul International, donating 10,000 euros per month for a minimum of twelve months. This funding is helping the humanitarian program that is carried out from Depaul’s Day center in Kharkiv and is saving the lives of more than 165 people a month, through the delivery of food and hygiene items that maintain the health, life and dignity of people in vulnerable situations.
About 1/5 of the people assisted by Depaul cannot access food distribution points and have no means of obtaining food. For this reason, home visits have remained a mainstay of its humanitarian response. In Kharkiv, 6,475 people receive weekly food hampers and more than 1,100 people receive a hot meal daily during the month of September.
In addition to all these initiatives, Depaul is preparing a special winter relief program, with the distribution of materials to repair bomb-damaged homes and survival kits to help people survive the brutally cold winter months.
According to the 16th President General of the SSVP, brother Renato Lima, this collaboration with Depaul International is essential to improve assistance to those who suffer, since the number of Vincentian conferences in Ukraine is small (only 5 groups) and financial resources are scarce. “Thanks to this effective and strategic collaboration, we can help much more. I hope that this senseless war will end soon, and that the Ukrainian people will once again live the peace that Jesus Christ came to bring us,” stressed President Lima de Oliveira. In December, Mr. Renato Lima will be in Eastern Europe to learn about the humanitarian projects developed by the SSVP and Depaul to help Ukrainian refugees.