Every day I read about Ukraine, and I think of the friends with whom I played volleyball, drank tea, and roasted marshmallows. I went to Ukraine 15 times throughout high school and college working at a summer camp just outside Kyiv and lived in Zaporizhzhia with Katy for almost a year, teaching computer classes in orphanage #3. In the spring, as tank columns bore down on my friends’ cities, and I messaged back and forth with them in their basements, I wondered in the back of my mind what it would be like to see them again someday. To meet in Maidan, to walk the gardens overlooking the Dnieper, and talk as we strolled along Khreshchatyk. To know that they had stood with their children and a few belongings in a long line to cross the border to Poland. To know their brother had escaped Bucha. To know their husband had sent them to Hungary, unsure if they would see each other again.
Thanks to you, our soap customers, family, and friends, we sent over $15,000 in the Spring to Ukrainians we worked with for whom it is making a lifechanging difference.
Now, winter is coming. Some of my friends are returning to Kyiv, where there have been explosions this week. Others are staying in Poland with small children, unsure whether there will be heat in their home or what it will cost. All of them are under tremendous pressure and facing significant loss.
We are planning on sending more money to help them get through the winter. Our goal is another $6,000-$12,000. Makayla, our eight-year-old who prays for Ustin, my friend Tasha’s son who is her age, spent the summer wrapping inn bars and has given the first $20.
If you’d like to donate to this, our Venmo is: Joel-Waechter-1.
Thank you for helping them.
Joel and Katy