Mennonites still have ties to war-torn Ukraine
For Mennonites in this area, war in Ukraine hits close to home. Ukraine was the state from which many Mennonite immigrants came to Kansas beginning in 1874.
In a newsletter published by Multiply, a missions organization, a writer said, “We are connected to Ukraine not only because the historical roots of our M.B. movement are there, but because we partner with a network of 25 M.B. churches there.”
The newsletter reported a recent bombing at an orphanage that is an M.B. outreach ministry. The children were huddled on one side of the house, and a bomb landed on the other side, so no one was hurt, the report said.
Michelle E. Armster, Mennonite Central Committee’s central states executive director, said current requests for aid from Ukraine are the same as aid requested in 1918.
“We need bread,” the delegation of Ukrainians said a century ago.
Help in response to famine, war, and poverty was not just for Mennonites but also for Lutherans, Catholics, and members of other religions.
A meeting in Hillsboro after that request resulted in the formation of MCC.
“We’re responding again for the same reason,” Armster said. “We are called to respond to all of God’s children.”
In 2014, when Russia took over the Crimea portion of Ukraine, MCC provided $2.4 million in humanitarian aid.
“We used local resources to support the local economy,” Armster said.
MCC is in contact with staff in Ukraine now to find out what is needed and when it might be safe to distribute aid.
MCC supplies hygiene kits, school supplies, canned meats, comforters, and other necessities as needed.
“We will help as we are able to,” Armster said.
Donations can be made at www.mcc.org by clicking on Ukraine Emergency Response.