Gunfire. Rocket launches. Snipers. Have you ever wondered what it’s like when our meals arrive in war-torn countries, or how and if they arrive safely? Places like Ukraine, where those left behind after war and devastation have no heat, no money and no food?
Nicole Dewberry from Raleigh, North Carolina can tell you exactly what it’s like. She’s a missionary who recently traveled to eastern Ukraine and sent an email to Stop Hunger Now to share her compelling story: “I just returned from the Sloviansk region near Donetsk where there is war and devastation. At night and in the mornings we would hear gunfire. When I was there I saw your boxes as we were delivering food to the ones left behind still living in this war zone. I wanted to let you know I saw your boxes in Ukraine and that they are being delivered and it is effective and legit.”
Newberry is the mother of nine adopted Ukrainian children. She has a love for the country and travels to Ukraine often to do mission work in the hospitals, serving the homeless and providing the military with supplies like thermal underwear and socks. She travels with her Ukrainian son to navigate checkpoints and dodge snipers to deliver firewood, Bibles and supplies to the same elderly people who receive Stop Hunger Now meals.
“I didn’t know where the food was coming from,” she said. “To see an organization doing something like this is significant.” As she watched the food being unloaded from the trucks, and saw the Stop Hunger Now logo and words “Raleigh, NC,” she was amazed to learn that the food was from her own hometown.
“It’s a beautifully orchestrated event to see Ukrainians donating supplies plus boxes of food from my hometown. They don’t understand where it comes from, but they are thankful for the food,” she said. “I had no idea I would cross the oceans to see your boxes.”
She explained that the elderly are living in very poor conditions with no heat or electricity, so volunteers would deliver food and firewood. “Everyone on the missions team delivering food, their lives are at risk every second,” she said.
Stop Hunger Now depends on reliable partners like Mission Eurasia in Ukraine to deliver our meals and share reports documenting the safe arrival and impact. They share reports like these: “The meals were transported to the war-torn regions of eastern Ukraine using vans belonging to the Association for Spiritual Renewal, our in-country affiliate. The meals were distributed to internally displaced people where many remain trapped in the conflict zone where they are starving.” They confirmed that three containers — packed by volunteers in the U.S. — safely arrived in June of 2015.
Volunteers with the “I Care” Refugee Assistance Program distributed the meals to nearly 29,000 people in feeding centers, schools and orphanages that are housing internally displaced people. Alyssa Carlburg from Mission Eurasia said, “The people who received Stop Hunger Now meals are much more hopeful than they were before receiving the meals.”
She continued: “They now know that they are not forgotten, and that there are people and organizations that care about their needs, so they are more welcoming and trusting toward our staff, church partners and the local community leaders with whom we are partnering.”
Based on first-hand accounts from people like Nicole Newberry and impact reports from partners like Mission Eurasia, volunteers who package our meals can take pride in knowing that yes, our meals are being delivered safely even in war-torn areas like Ukraine and yes, they are making a real impact.