Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine in 2022, the OU’s Community Projects and Partnerships Division has kept a finger on the pulse of Ukrainian Jewry, collaborating with partner organizations such as the Vaad Hatzalah and those on the ground—including Chabad and the Shema Yisrael Foundation—to provide for the needs of Jewish communities across Ukraine. Key relief efforts included raising over $5 million in emergency donations for food and medical supplies, building a multi-national logistics team to coordinate supply procurement and transport, and delivering more than 200 tons of food and holiday essentials to over 30,000 people last Pesach season.
As the war entered its second year, those still in Ukraine faced a freezing winter, a broken kosher food supply chain and regular power failures. Over the winter months, the OU’s Community Projects and Partnerships Division coordinated and provided partial funding toward several efforts, including:
- The purchase and distribution of thirty-five high-powered generators in October—each costing up to $50,000—to community centers and shuls in twenty cities around the country.
- A London clothing drive in November, coordinated with the help of the London-based GIFT Jewish nonprofit organization, that aggregated over thirty tons of life-saving winter wear, including coats, blankets and hats, which were distributed by Chabad centers in Ukraine.
- The purchase and delivery of over 5,000 winter essentials—blankets, scarves, hats, et cetera.
- The purchase and delivery of shelf-stable kosher cheese and tuna for over 3,000 people affected by the breakdown of the kosher food supply chain, which has been regularly disrupted by the war.
With Pesach quickly approaching, the OU’s Community Projects and Partnerships Division has focused its current activities on coordinating and partially funding the order and delivery of Pesach staples to 30,000 Jews in cities across Ukraine. Approximately 130 tons of Pesach food—including matzah, grape juice, meat, chicken and pantry items—have been ordered for distribution.