Russia recently launched its attack on Ukraine, resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties and forcing nearly 1 million refugees to flee the country, according to Filippo Grandi, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees. In the coming days and weeks, the U.N is preparing for 3 million more refugees to cross the country’s border. And as violence continues, humanitarian experts fear that the crisis will exacerbate food insecurity in Ukraine and around the world. In a show of support for Ukraine, anti-hunger nonprofits and other relief organizations are mobilizing to feed those impacted by the invasion.
Referred to as the breadbasket of Europe, Ukraine has a third of the world’s most fertile soil, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and supplies a third of the world’s wheat supplies. Countries across the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa depend on Ukraine and Russia for wheat, corn, and vegetable oil. According to Thomas Ølholm, a regional food security adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council, “Many fields [in Ukraine] will not be maintained or planted. Many agricultural smallholders will be affected and lose their livelihoods for a period of time, or permanently.”
Global food prices were already on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) report finds. And the invasion may push inflation rates even higher, leading to worsening rates of food insecurity in low-income countries reliant on food imports.
Olivier De Schutter, co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights argues, “Governments need to do everything in their power to ensure food security for Ukrainian citizens, and step up social protections to insulate vulnerable people from rising food prices.”
Thankfully, organizations are already beginning to address the crisis. Organizations like CARE and the International Rescue Committee are on the ground, feeding those in or fleeing Ukraine. José Andrés, Chef and Founder of World Central Kitchen, is serving thousands of hot meals to Ukrainian refugees. He recently tweeted, “People of the world…Like you, I am distraught watching Ukraine under attack. We must come together as a force for good.”
As efforts continue, consider supporting these 13 organizations to aid Ukraine.
Bakers Against Racism (BAR) is the world’s largest bake sale, raising over US$2.5 Million for social justice causes worldwide. In response to the current crisis, BAR launched Bake for Ukraine, a global emergency bake sale. BAR calls upon bakers, chefs, home cooks, artisans, and anyone who cares about the cause to lead at-home bake sales and donate proceeds to charitable organizations. You can learn how to get involved here.
CARE works in over 100 countries to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice. In response to the attack, CARE Austria’s partner organization, People In Need, is sending trucks with relief supplies into Ukraine to provide food, hygiene items, diapers, and sleeping bags to refugees. Donate here to support their Ukraine Crisis Fund.
Founded by Eastern European chefs Olia Hercules, Alissa Timoshkina, and Zuza Zak, Cook for Ukraine is a food and drink campaign collecting donations to support the U.N.International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). In just a few days, the campaign already raised over US$29 thousand and hundreds of top chefs, award-winning food writers, restaurant owners, and home cooks joined and showed their solidarity. Learn how to get involved through their Just Giving page.
The European Food Banks Federation is a network of over 300 Food Banks in 29 European countries. They allocated over US$330,000 to provide immediate food aid and support through The Kyiv City Charity Foundation Food Bank, and are calling on corporations, foundations, organizations, and citizens to join the fundraising campaign.
Since 2014, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has provided emergency assistance, including food, water, and medicine, to residents of Ukraine. In response to Russia’s attack, ICRC is working to scale up their efforts as they deliver food and hygiene kits and assist with evacuations. Learn more about their programs in Ukraine and ways to support.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people affected by humanitarian crises recover and rebuild their lives. IRC is on the ground in Poland, providing food, medical care, and emergency supplies to Ukrainian families. Read more about IRC’s emergency response and donate to support their work.
Founded after World War II, Lutheran World Relief aims to end poverty, injustice, and human suffering worldwide. With Corus International, their Humanitarian Action team is working to support the critical needs of Ukrainian refugees by providing food, shelter, medical supplies, and emergency medical services. Donate here to support their response.
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) began its work in Ukraine in late 2014 and provided over 700,000 people with food, shelter, water, sanitation and legal aid. Today, NRC is deploying two emergency response teams to Poland and Moldova, two of Ukraine’s neighboring countries, to provide immediate humanitarian relief to refugees crossing the borders. Here’s where you can donate to support their work.
9. Nova Ukraine
Founded in 2013, Nova Ukraine provides humanitarian aid to vulnerable groups and individuals in Ukraine. The organization is currently providing on the ground assistance to Ukrainian refugees. They are collecting donations to send out frontline volunteers and provide emergency resources to both refugees as well as remaining citizens. Donate here to support their work.
Save The Children first launched operations in Ukraine in 2014 and recently established the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. Through the fund, Save the Children is providing children and families caught in the crossfire with immediate aid including food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance. You can donate to support their efforts here.
As the conflict in Ukraine intensifies, UNICEF is scaling up their efforts to provide nutrition, health care, and education support to protect the country’s 7.5 million children. They are currently based in eastern Ukraine and will expand across the country as needed. Learn more about UNICEF’s work in Ukraine and donate to their efforts here.
The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) launched an emergency operation to provide food assistance for people fleeing the conflict inside Ukraine and in neighboring countries. WFP staff are in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, helping to address the city’s food and drinking water shortages. Donate and support their efforts here.
Founded by chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) launched an immediate response to Russia’s invasion. The organization is on the frontlines, serving thousands of hot, fresh meals to Ukrainian families on the Ukraine-Poland border as well as those who remain in the country. Donate to support their efforts here.
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Photo courtesy of Yehor Milohrodskyi, Unsplash