As you know, one of the ways in which our Collaborative observes Lent is by making a significant gift to support an organization or group which seeks to alleviate suffering. Over the last few years, local, regional, and national issues have come to the forefront as the Service Commission works to select a gift recipient. Last year, we made a very significant gift to Boston Health Care for the Homeless Project, and the year before to our own SJSP Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

This year, international tragedy suggests itself as being an appropriate way to express our love and compassion. Day after day, we have watched and read about the horrific conditions that have beset Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion. Millions of people have died or fled their homes as refugees. Families have been torn apart and many individuals who have survived are struggling with serious injuries and terrible living conditions.

To find out how best to help, we contacted the pastor of Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church in Jamaica Plain, Fr. Yaroslav Nalysnyk. He recommended and vouched for Ukraine Forward, an initiative of the Ukrainian Educational Foundation of Boston, which has been providing medical supplies for soldiers and civilians wounded in the conflict.

Myron Kravchuk accepts donations to aid the people of Ukraine at the Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church in Jamaica Plain. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Myron Kravchuk, a Christ the King parishioner and founder of Ukraine Forward, met with the Service Commission in January to discuss their history, mission, and current projects. One new project we learned about is with City of Goodness, a social service center for women and children. With the onset of the war, has become a shelter for women with children, families (with their pets!) and elderly people from all over Ukraine.  They have also taken in evacuees from three orphanages – children from birth to 7 years.  They settle them, feed them, provide medical treatment, and try to make this time a little less traumatic for the little ones.

They are now in the process of constructing additional buildings (with bomb shelters) to accommodate another 200 evacuee children. In addition, their charity foundation “I Am the Future of Ukraine” supports children’s hospitals and poor families across the country.

To make the best possible impact, the Commission voted to dedicate our 2023 Lenten Gift to help City of Goodness with their construction efforts and constant need for food, medicine, hygiene items, baby food and formula, and clothing. Over the next two weeks we will share more about City of Goodness as we prepare for our Special Second Collection on March 25-26.  For now, we ask that you pray for the suffering people of Ukraine and for the success of our Lenten Gift campaign.

Next week, we tell you more about what is happening in Ukraine and what City of Goodness is doing to help.

To learn more and donate online, please visit our 2023 Collaborative Lenten Gift page.

Telling the Story – Part 1: Introducing Ukraine Forward and City of Goodness