Have you ever noticed how U.S. presidents seem to age exponentially during their tenure in the Oval Office? Perhaps not as obvious among our elderly presidents as of late, but the youngsters like Obama and Clinton seemed to age far beyond a decade after their eight years. Images on TV of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who came into office as young revolutionary, similarly reveal the wear of the war. A youthful leader forced to protect his country against a lethal brutality — he appears a different man from when the war started.
Entering three months, he speaks to the world in an unshaved face and T-shirt, sleepy eyes, with persistent and direct pleas for Western aid. On display is the face of humanity, unfiltered and authentically tragic. It’s not the image we usually see of world leaders, it’s inspiring and relatable. He came to leadership with the look and glow of a movie star, and now he’s the face of a war-torn hero. It’s a dramatic transformation worthy of deep respect.
As the Russian siege continues to inflict atrocities across the country, international humanitarian aid agencies both secular and religious across the globe have sprung into high gear to assist the 4 million displaced people and those still inside Ukraine in need of basic needs. Local organizations here in Methow and in Wenatchee are jumping to the call for the help.
Bluebird Grain Farms recently donated 5% of its proceeds through April 3 to the World Chef’s Kitchen. World Chef’s Kitchen provides meals to internally displaced Ukrainians in country and to refugee camps across Eastern Europe. Based out of Poland, the organization prepares over 200,000 meals a day through a vast network of chefs and restaurants. From food storehouses to meal deliveries, they operate the logistics of food. Another good reason to support local.
Meest, a global transportation company with a branch in Wenatchee, specializes in shipping and e-commerce to Eastern Europe, including the Ukraine. They have started a humanitarian aid service mobilizing their supply chain network. Earlier in March, Youth leaders from the Church of Latter Day Saints in Wenatchee collected food, clothing and hygiene items to ship via Meest. The effort continues.
The internet has been a powerful tool in the aid game, from Go Fund Me sites raising money to reunite Ukrainian family in the states, to supporting Ukrainian artists via Etsy and Instagram. It appears you can get almost anything in yellow and blue. But the scammers are always opportunistic when it comes to crises and will exploit the collective sympathies of well-intentioned humans. It’s hard to know how to help. But Americans are the most charitable people on Earth, and giving money to any of the humanitarian organizations with boots on the ground can go a long way. Charity Watch.org is a good go to check out if a particular organization is trustworthy.