BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Friday marks one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Since the start of the war, a Birmingham-linked organization has been able to raise nearly $2 million to continue sending support to the war-torn country.

Over the past year, The Outreach Foundation has helped connect resources around the world to help Ukraine. The Rev. Tom Boone, associate director for mission for The Outreach Foundation, has taken four groups with him since the start of the war to provide food, medicine and emotional support to war victims in Ukraine.

“From day one, people in Ukraine were wondering what we could do. We help you answer that question and the way we do that is by working through the established church that has a long history and is trusted,” Boone said. “We load up all the things we can get, or we buy things there and hand-deliver them to friends.”

Within a week of the start of the war, The Outreach Foundation established a connection with the Rev. Evan Rusyn, a kyiv religious leader. He visited Birmingham earlier this month at the South Highland Presbyterian Church.

“We realize that there is no place for the Ukrainian identity in the Russian world,” Rusyn said on his visit. “For us it is clear: fight or die.”

The Rusyn faith community feels the impact of donations firsthand.

“We can see their faces,” Boone said. “We can hear his stories. The Outreach Foundation really makes it a priority to deal with a relationship.”

Boone said any resources he sends help the foundation get donations for the border.

“That’s the best way to do this,” Boone said. “It is the most immediate way.”

Boone said monetary donations work best because they can buy supplies in bulk to get the most out of every dollar. Boone said that 100% of the money he sends to South Highland Presbyterian or The Outreach Foundation marked for Ukraine efforts is used to help abroad.

The Outreach Foundation is planning another trip in a few weeks to deliver supplies. In the long term, the foundation continues to provide housing and counseling services as Ukraine continues to navigate this war.


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