“The crisis in Ukraine, two weeks in, is deepening. World leaders are pushing and pulling the levers of foreign policy in attempts to make it more painful for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to press his strategy than to take his troops home.

There’s no doubt that the economic sanctions — governmental and corporate — are making life in Russia more difficult. Corporations that are pulling back their Russian interests and investments are doing the right thing. Minnesota legislators pushing a divestment plan to sever Minnesota’s public money from Putin’s domain are to be commended.

Individuals as well are anxious to help Ukrainians still in the country and those who have become refugees in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and other nations. Some have booked vacation homes in Ukraine (that they have no intention of visiting, of course) to effectively make direct donations to Ukrainian citizens. Others have sought out and made purchases from Ukrainian vendors of handmade goods online for the same purpose. Still more have publicly expressed their support for Ukraine on their social media profiles, through their art and by participating in rallies like the one in St. Paul last week.

Hungarian government spokesperson Alexandra Szentkiralyi carries a box of donations for refugees from Ukraine during her visit at the local donation warehouse in Barabas, Hungary, Sunday, March 6, 2022. (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP)

All of those steps are valid. All raise up much-needed hope for Ukraine.

Ukrainians will need help for a long time to come, however. The generosity and resources of their neighbors in Eastern Europe will also need to be supported and replenished. Settle in for a long haul of humanitarian help (at best); if the aggression ended now, it would still take years for Ukraine to recover from the devastation of Russia’s invasion.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine how best to help. Is that online seller of a T-shirt “to benefit Ukraine” legit? Maybe. Maybe not. So here are just a few legitimate organizations that need our help to do their work to help Ukraine, according to the Charity Navigator watchdog group:

  • Doctors Without Borders (www.doctorswithoutborders.org): This venerable organization is working to get supplies and equipment for trauma care and surgery to Ukrainian hospitals which are suffering shortages.
  • World Central Kitchen (https://wck.org): World Central Kitchen is providing fresh meals for Ukrainian refugees in bordering nations in addition to those who are staying in their home country.
  • Hope for Ukraine (https://hopeforukraine.net): HFU is providing direct grocery assistance to families in Ukraine, in addition to working to help wounded Ukrainian soldiers recover.
  • Church World Service (https://cwsglobal.org): Working with refugee aid organizations in the Balkans and acting as a refugee resettlement agent in the U.S.
  • Islamic Relief USA (https://irusa.org/Europe): IRUSA’s Europe Humanitarian Aid fund is working to provide emergency shelter and winter aid, regardless of religion, race or gender.

  • Humane Society International (https://www.hsi.org): is working to help Ukrainian animal welfare groups. 

Dozens of other organizations have been vetted by Charity Navigator; other trusted and well-known relief organization should be considered as well.

While we in the U.S. suffer skyrocketing fuel prices, we would do well to avoid thinking of ourselves as victims. We have some choice in the matter; we can choose to drive less, carpool more and combine trips. Companies can easily revert to work-from-home protocols to help conserve fuel and save their employees money. We can keep perspective about pain at the gas pump by remembering the victims of this war and they need our help. ”