The Healing Power of Food: How We’re Helping People and Pets in Crisis
Imagine being forced to flee your home with nothing more than what you can carry. You spend months displaced, seeking safety for your family, and dreaming of your own bed. When you finally return, you find yourself stranded within your own house. Your home is damaged, there’s no power, and your family doesn’t have access to food, clean water, or other necessities. You’re scared and hungry and can only hope for help to come.
This is the reality for millions of people when a crisis strikes. The UN recently reported that there are 828 MILLION hungry people across the world and cites conflict and climate shocks as key drivers of this issue.
In conflict zones or areas devastated by natural disasters, essential infrastructure like power grids is often destabilized or destroyed. This creates serious problems for people in affected areas and makes it incredibly difficult to get necessary food and supplies to those in need. In situations like this, food becomes a luxury.
Greater Good Charities believes food is a universal right and provides more than nourishment in times of crisis. Food has the power to bring people together and to heal and is needed in times of crisis more than ever.
As the war against Ukraine rages on for nearly a year now, there are more than 4.5 million Ukrainians living in affected areas without basic necessities like food. These families are tired, hungry, and unsure how or when their situation will improve.
Thanks to our generous community of supporters, we’ve been on the ground since March providing emergency relief to the people and pets of Ukraine. We have funded over 9.5 million meals via local partners and food banks and more than 31.6 million meals for pets! Here are just a few ways we’re doing that!
Distributing Meal Kits to Families
After speaking with and assessing the needs of families in the affected areas, Greater Good Charities created meal kits to help families stay full and healthy in times of crisis. These meal kits contain ingredients to make up to 80 meals - enough to feed a family for a month! Not only that, but they’re also a huge source of health, hope, and comfort for the thousands of families living in Ukraine.
Watch this video for a close-up look at the food staples and Ukraine-made blankets being distributed to families, along with pet food and other supplies.
In addition to the challenges of feeding their families, many Ukrainian villagers are doing everything they can to care for their pets, as well as those animals left behind by families who fled the area. That’s why, thanks to our amazing supporters, we include pet food in the meal kits we distribute across the area!
These meal kits remove a huge burden for caregivers. With meals for every belly, families can redirect their focus and funds on surviving the harsh Ukrainian winter. This monumental impact only happens because of the amazing support of people like you!
Providing Pet Food to Animal Shelters
As shipping routes are halted and food resources are seized or destroyed, many animal shelters in and around Ukraine have run out of food caring for the influx of displaced pets. That’s why Greater Good Charities partnered with pet food industry leaders to provide tons of life-saving pet food to animal shelters across Ukraine.
With your help, our Disaster Response team delivered 15 pallets of pet food to Northeast Ukraine. Due to the proximity to the frontline, the situation in this location is particularly dire. Like those on the frontline, the shelter is overrun, not only with adult dogs, but now with dozens and dozens of puppies born from abandoned pets. Taking more pets in is no small task for overcrowded shelters, but these puppies would not survive the brutal winter outside.
© Krakow Food Bank
Hosting Pizza Parties
Your support is sending joyful parties full of food and fun in areas around Ukraine. Our team on the ground visited L’viv, a region of Ukraine affected by missile attacks and shelling. Thanks to gracious donor support, our team was able to provide pizza, music, and a moment of joy to thousands of families and pets.
Check out this clip of our own CEO, Liz Baker, distributing meals in L'viv!
With our partner Siobhan’s Trust, our team set up a pizza food truck in the city square and spent the day cooking 3,000 pies for hundreds of hungry people across the region. Families, their beloved pets, and volunteers all came together to sing, dance, eat, and share stories with one another.
Your generous donations help make incredible moments like this possible. For Ukrainian families who have lost everything, this day was about so much more than a nutritious meal. This event brought joy, hope, and a feeling of support in an uncertain time of war and danger.
Supporting Local Communities & Their Pets
Early in the war, Russia invaded the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the area about 20 miles surrounding the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. The occupation lasted a month and, while the hostages quickly reported they were safe, they were worried for the safety of the over 350 stray cats and dogs who rely on the local volunteer-run organization Dogs of Chernoybl for life-saving food. Being trapped with no way to purchase food to distribute meant these hungry animals might not survive.
Thanks to your support, our partners at Clean Futures Fund purchased food in Kyiv and transported it to the Exclusion Zone. As entry is restricted to power plant workers and the Ukrainian military only, the pet food is stored at the entrance. Power plant workers collect the food at the checkpoint every day and distribute it to the stray dogs, ensuring the continuity of the Dogs of Chernobyl feeding program, and the health and safety of the dogs that call this area home!
Together we provided 1,800 lbs of pet food to feed the hungry animals that have survived the occupation. It’s support from donors like you that offers hope to pets in need throughout Ukraine!
@ Clean Futures Fund
The support provided by your compassionate donations is more than just simply food. It gives hope, energy, and soul-nourishing sustenance to people and pets who have lost everything as they enter what may be the coldest winter of their lives. It provides connection during a time of crisis, which can nourish the soul as well as the body! Thank you for helping us provide this critical support to people and pets living through times of crisis. You can give this gift of hope to those who need it most.