Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) intensify its social ministry. In 2020, as compared to 2017, Caritas Ukraine (Caritas is the Catholic relief organization), within the Parish Social Ministry project, doubled or tripled the number of Ukrainian parishes where it provides ministry for boarding schools for children, prisons and geriatric and psychoneurological centres. The number of volunteers involved in the parish social ministry more than doubled, to 8,076 people in 2020.
In 2020, Caritas Ukraine provided over 220,000 servings of meals for the poor and homeless, while the “Merciful Samaritan Corner” project provided clothes and food for the needy at 1,534 parishes across Ukraine. There are now 48 Ukrainian Greek Catholic parishes in Ukraine where Caritas branches work systematically (up from 38 in 2017).
All this became possible thanks to the donors: the Canadian office of Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), Renovabis and Catholic Relief Services.
- Examples of the Caritas work during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine include:
- Two oxygen concentrators and grocery kits, which have benefited thousands of people, including COVID-19 patients, in the Chernivtsi region;
- Humanitarian aid and psychological support of children in vulnerable families during COVID-19 in Uzhhorod;
- Food and spiritual support to 400 vulnerable families in villages in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr and Vinnytsia regions;
- Humanitarian assistance and social support for 75 vulnerable families in the Poltava region;
- Face masks for the needy in the Muratove village in the war zone in the Luhansk region; in the Lozova town in the Kharkiv region; and in the Volnovakha town in the Donetsk region.
The Canadian office of CNEWA also funded the Patriarchal Curia and the Sheptytskyy Hospital projects in Lviv: housing for 7-14-day periods at the Patriarchal House of UGCC in Lviv for medics who ended their weekly shifts in hospitals, to stop the spread of the virus (101 medical personnel covered so far); meals delivery to the immobile and lonely elderly, and outpatient counseling for the elderly and the immune-compromised at home.
As the pandemic is tightening its grip over Ukraine, the Canadian office of CNEWA is continuing to sponsor charitable projects in that country. Everyone is welcome to donate towards those projects at cnewa.ca or at 1-866-322-4441.