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On Day 111 of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, we arrived in Warsaw eager to help. The U.S. embassy told us about August Mission. It was preparing to deploy food and medical supplies to Ukraine. They gave us a warm welcome and together, we secured the necessary paperwork for the border, collected donated medical supplies from various warehouses, purchased pallets of nutritious food from Polish stores, configured the items into vans, drove 200 + miles and unloaded at an empty warehouse just over the border in Ukraine. From there, the items were dispersed to displaced Ukrainians living in villages just outside Khmelnytsyi another 200 miles away.
August Mission is a master at logistics. In basic terms, it gets needed items from Point A to Point B – with Point B being in a war zone. Its team is on the ground and first identifies the specific needs and then resources and delivers those needs. It tackles the problems that plague displaced people all the while demonstrating compassion and humanity and promoting dignity and respect.
Most everything the Ukrainians need can be found or purchased affordably in Poland. Through its skilled network, August Mission finds optimal pricing and tracks down donated items. On our way to Ukraine, we picked up donated items from other non-governmental organizations that were immediately needed such as a left-handed electric wheelchair for a Ukrainian solider who lost his right arm and leg last month.
There is a tendency for humans to donate things they have or personally like. In Poland, we visited warehouses packed with donations from well-intending donors from all over the world. Every donation isn’t automatically transported into Ukraine. The reason has to do with the complexity involved with border crossings and related expenses such as gas. On average, 18-wheeler semi-trucks wait in line for 3 days at the border before being allowed to cross and spend 7 days waiting to return. Each time a driver crosses the border, his passport is stamped, and it takes two months to get a new passport. As a result, careful consideration must be given as to what goes when.
August Mission’s solution has been to first identify items immediately needed and then to transport them in commercial vans with humanitarian labels which are permitted to cross the border in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks. Its drivers further minimize time at the border because the frequent crossings allow them to stay current with the constantly changing documentation requirements. August Mission fully loads each van so to maximize each border crossing.
On our last day in Warsaw, we met Bruce Roberts the CEO & Founder of August Mission. He encouraged us to tell others about August Mission’s response to the largest and fastest humanitarian crisis in recent times. Given the significant internal displacement, massive destruction and ongoing war, its work is far from over.
In a land where there has been so much historical suffering, the Polish and Ukrainian citizens are treating each other with kindness and exhibiting the best of humanity. Their spirit is unwavering and capacity to make the best of things admirable. Also awe-inspiring are the steadfast volunteers who have come from all corners of the world — including Russia. If you would like to contribute to the aid effort, please consider donating to August Mission. August Mission’s expertise on the ground gets people in need the items they most need. Here is the link to donate (please write “Better” in the “What is this donation for?” field).
Thank you. Dziękuję. Дякую.
Rachel & Asher Waimon
August Mission is a U.S.-based non-governmental organization that works with the Polish government and other local organizations, such as the Front Pomocy Ukraine (FPU), to provide Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons with goods and medical care. It arrived in Warsaw on Feb 25th with 1400 pounds of medical supplies and has been a central part of the humanitarian effort. August Mission is committed to reducing human suffering by developing solutions to the complex problems associated with lawful humanitarian support, recovery, and resettlement of displaced persons, persecuted groups/individuals and those left behind.
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