SALT LAKE CITY — For many, helping is healing — that’s why those with family in Ukraine and those caring for refugees want to make sure the help Utahns are giving really makes a difference.
Jason Scout has lived in Ukraine for the past six years. Before moving to Ukraine, Scout worked with refugees in Salt Lake City. It was nearly twenty years ago Scout served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ukraine.
Scout never expected to live in Ukraine with his family, let alone become a refugee.
“In the beginning it was a mixture of shock and fear, and then just disbelief," said Scout.
Scout's family fled through Romania before they reached Poland.
In the safety of their temporary shelter, Scout felt he had to turn back and help those left behind.
“When I went back to Lviv, which is one of the safer cities, every day and every night there were air raid sirens," said Scout. "Every time I hear that air raid siren, I immediately have a stress response--even though I haven’t been shelled, I haven’t been bombed-- it's just because of the fear it instills in you.”
A fear Svitlana Miller understands as she watched her home, Kyiv, from the Beehive State.
"We’ve been trying to call my dad, we lost touch when the war started," said Miller. "We don’t know where he is, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the worst. There are a lot of people lost right now.”
The suffering Miller watched motivated her to create "To Ukraine With Love," so she could send help to her family and friends.
"We just need them to last a little longer, to be able to stand their ground and to survive," said Miller. "The only way for them to do that is through help of others.”
Yet not all the donations Miller has watched organizations collect fits the desperate needs of Ukrainians.
Miller's friend had a cousin and brother fighting on the frontlines who kept messaging and asking for protective helments and a vest.
“I just said we’re going to get this fundraiser going and we’ll find a way to ship them. I’ll make sure your brother and cousin get a set," said Miller. "She called at the beginning of the week and send just my cousin now, not my brother. He’s gone. Time matters. Donating fast matters."
Donating fast, but Miller also emphasized donating smart.
Items like diapers, formula, food, hygiene kits are all available in Poland. Miller said what they desperately need is money for fuel, military items, drones and much more.
Scout agreed with Miller with his perspective from Poland.
“Level four bullet proof vests and helmets. Specific types of military equipment like drones -- they would prefer American-made drones," said Scout. "They also need things that are very expensive like night-vision goggles. Anything that can detect heat, things like that.”
The following is a list of resources vetted by Scout and Miller for donations:
The Ukrainian embassy has vetted the following list of organizations to go through:
- Revived Soldiers Ukraine
- Come Back Alive (Works directly with the command and personnel of military units, purchasing infrared thermal imaging cameras, night vision goggles, hemostatics, etc.)
- Army SOS (Manages purchases of necessary ammunition, shields, intercommunication and reconnaissance facilities, etc. and delivers all goods directly)
- Hospitallers (Works directly on the frontline)
- Phoenix Wings (The appropriate equipment & uniform, personal non-lethal protection like vests and helmets, required treatment of the wounded soldiers, and repair of the buildings used by the army)
- Ukrainian Women Veteran Movement (A consolidation of female veterans that organizes preparation for actions in case of emergencies and defense situations, among other things)
- Vostok SOS (Raising funds for various needs of the army)