In the face of great tribulation, “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalms 9:9).
As The Salvation Army around the world works faithfully with those affected by disasters – striving to be a source of strength for the oppressed – it reaches out to The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO) for support in restoring and strengthening communities against future misfortune. While disasters are most often acts of nature, The Salvation Army’s local presence in 126 countries ensures year round support for communities suffering in the face of conflict and manmade disasters.
What began in Kiev, Ukraine as peaceful demonstrations by student protestors over government corruption in November, 2013, escalated to a violent response by state security forces in early 2014. The ongoing conflict has resulted in more than 6,000 deaths and at least one million displaced people, many of whom have been trapped in conflict zones, forced to shelter in basements, lacking drinking water, food, heating, electricity and basic medical supplies.
The Salvation Army has been actively serving in the Ukraine since 1993, and continues to provide services and programs to the area amid conflict. In coordination with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in January, 2014, The Salvation Army in the Ukraine began opening welcome centers in local community center buildings such as Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovograd and Kiev for thousands of displaced people to receive food, clothes, hydration, warmth as well as emotional and spiritual support.
Through funding from SAWSO, The Salvation Army in the Ukraine was able to continue serving displaced individuals and families throughout the summer months of 2014, providing refugee camps and welcome centers with food and material goods, such as bedding, personal hygiene items, cleaning products, baby formula, and school packs. The Salvation Army also hosted day camps that welcomed and supported Internally Displaced People (IDP).
In addition to supporting the four designated welcome centers, The Salvation Army is also present in other Ukraine communities such as the conflict zone of Donetsk. In mid-2014, the Donetsk Corps officers were not permitted to stay in the area due to the dangerous situation, but services of The Salvation Army in Donetsk continued throughout the year under the coordination of a faithful local volunteer and Salvation Army member, Vera Volf. As the newly appointed Coordinator of the Donetsk Outpost, Vera bravely serves her community with a small scale program including food distribution, Bible study, and prayer meetings.
In thanks to SAWSO donors, individuals like Vera are able to be a stronghold for the oppressed, restorers of peace in the hearts of the suffering through the reach of The Salvation Army.