Emergency Supplies to Ukraine Waiting for Sealift

September 18, 2014

At this moment in Ukraine, an estimated 310,000 people have been displaced from their homes. Families are struggling to secure basic necessities and anxiously anticipating the harsh winter ahead.

At this moment in Arkansas, Texas, and Mississippi, and Indiana, there are four 40 foot ocean containers waiting to be shipped, each loaded with 5-gallon kits carrying essential items such as soap, toothpaste, Band-Aids and antibiotics. Other containers include pounds of rice and still more include shoes, winter clothing, medical supplies, and bedding, beds, and mattresses.

The bridge that will connect these emergency supplies to persons in need is called the People to People Global Network (P2P), an initiative involving tens of thousands of volunteers.  For 16 years, Counterpart International has coordinated with a web of trusted partners in the U.S. and abroad to ensure donated goods are successfully shipped and quickly distributed amongst populations in crisis.

The P2P network of partners boasts 33,000 individuals and stretches across 50 countries. To date, it has delivered over $200 million in essential commodities to nearly 4.3 million people. Presently, the P2P initiative is actively committed to leveraging its existing contacts across the world to build new partners and extend its reach.

The previous funding for the logistical operations of the P2P network came from the U.S. State Department, but that funding was recently cut. Right now, there are containers full of supplies with no funding to sealift them to Ukraine and other places where people are in dire need.

“This network of partners and volunteers is so committed to supporting people in need and passionate about continuing their remarkable relief efforts. To this end, the P2P network is actively pursuing resources to make sure that critically needed supplies can get where they need to go,” said Rang Hee Kim, Counterpart’s Director of Humanitarian Assistance.

In Ukraine alone, P2P is connected with 27 local nonprofit organizations overseeing the distribution of goods on the ground—goods that were collected and donated by 18 partner nonprofits in the U.S. One of those organizations is Churches of Christ, which joined the network in 1999.

“I went into Ukraine on a mission trip,” said John Kachelman, a preacher and president of Churches of Christ. “I visited hospitals and schools and saw the just deplorable conditions they were living in. When I came back, we decided to do something to help these communities and since then we’ve been involved in 23 foreign countries and the U.S.”

Each of P2P’s domestic partners maintains their own connections overseas, and Kachelman says the Churches of Christ network in Ukraine has a well-established track record of fair and efficient work.

“We look for areas where there’s a significant population of internally displaced persons (IDPs),” said Kachelman, who notes that the latest shipment is waiting to be sent to Ukraine’s Zhitomir and Zaporozhye regions. “Our local contacts …see that it’s equally distributed to all locations with IDPs, not just where the contact is based, but wherever there is a great need.”

It is P2P’s ability to mobilize resources on a massive scale that enables individuals oceans apart to make a measurable, positive impact in times of emergency.

“The power of a partnership of 33,000+ caring individuals provides the skills, expertise and resources that are critically needed to respond rapidly and efficiently to communities in need,” said Kachelman.

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