How to Help Ukraine Right Now

After Russia’s recent military invasion, Ukraine’s residents are in need of aid. Here are some quick and effective ways to help Ukraine, no matter where you are.

On February 24, 2022, Russia attacked Ukraine from three sides in a special military operation to “demilitarize” the country. As of April 10, 2022, an estimated 4,232 civilian casualties had been recorded, though the United Nations believes the actual figure to be much higher. President Biden called Russia’s act of aggression “unprovoked,” “unjustified,” and “premeditated,” and in recent days, he has called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal. Ukraine’s president, Volodymr Zelensky, has stayed to fight with his people, calling on the world to help Ukraine and stand with them to defend democracy.

The reasons for the Ukraine-Russia war are complicated, but the country—the second largest in Europe after Russia—is a former Soviet Union republic that has been independent since 1991. When Russia invaded Ukraine and also annexed neighboring Crimea in 2014, more than a million Ukrainian residents were displaced, but that number has risen sharply since February. The UN Refugee Agency now estimates that a quarter of the population—ten million people—has been displaced. That massive number includes six million people who have been internally displaced and four million Ukrainian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries.

The impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is global, so it’s important to know what’s going on as well as how to find hope in dark times. One of those ways is to rally for change and help those in need. If you’re not sure exactly how to help Ukraine right now, you’re in the right place.

How to help Ukraine

From writing to Congress to donating to humanitarian aid organizations, there are many ways to help the people of Ukraine right now. Remember that providing aid isn’t just about monetary donations. Though cash is certainly helpful and needed, there are a number of ways to volunteer creatively, even from a distance.

How To Help Ukraine Guide Via, getty images

Stay informed

With so much disinformation on the Internet, getting the facts about this crisis from reputable sources is critical. Stay apprised of the latest developments, understand how the conflict is affecting Ukraine and the global community, and then decide how you want to help.

  • The Kyiv Independent is an English-language outlet reporting on how the invasion is impacting citizens, the economy, and politics. Its Twitter account is a good way to follow up-to-the-minute information.
  • The New Voice of Ukraine provides breaking news in multiple languages, including English, as well as op-eds and analyses from Ukrainian scholars.
  • Ukraine World provides live updates on its website and is also active on Twitter.
  • CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times are also providing live updates on their sites and on Twitter.

Contact your representatives

It takes only a minute to write to your congressional representatives to ask them to support Ukraine and send aid, and this link simplifies the process. You can write a longer message, but simple and direct works just fine. The most important thing is to make your voice heard. Here is a sample message you can copy and paste or simply use for inspiration:

I write to ask you to move swiftly against the unprovoked and unjustified war Russia is waging on Ukraine. As your constituent, I ask that you speak for me in the halls of Congress and say that we will not tolerate this violent assault on Ukrainian sovereignty.

Send as much humanitarian, financial, and military aid to Ukraine as you can. Invest now in the resilience of the Ukrainian people, whose fragile democracy is at grave risk of falling under the pressure of this horrific assault.

You can also write directly to the White House or call 202-456-1111, and contact your senators. Encourage your friends and family members to write and call as well.

Show solidarity

Dozens of people raise a Ukrainian national flag in their hands during a demonstration in support of the Ukrainian people on March 02, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.Omar Havana/Getty Images

What you do in your own proverbial backyard makes more of a difference than you might realize. And for those on a tight budget who are wondering how to help Ukraine, these are particularly excellent options.

  • Engage in peaceful protests. Stand with Ukraine can help you find one near you. (FYI, here are some things to keep in mind when attending any type of protest.)
  • Support Ukrainians in the United States. For example, in the early days of the conflict, New Yorkers showed up in droves to support Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village that was founded by the current owner’s grandfather after he fled the Soviet Union in 1954.
  • Raise money to donate to aid organizations. Having a garage sale to get rid of unwanted items is a win for everyone, or you can organize a fundraising event, like a few Montana women did. Dasha Bril, who immigrated from Belarus in the 1990s, got a group of women together for an evening of Ukrainian food made by local chefs, and they raised $20,000 for World Central Kitchen. The event was such a success that they’re planning more of them.
More Stories About the War in Ukraine

  • No-Fly Zones: Find out why these military measures have been used sparingly throughout history, and how instituting one could change the war in Ukraine.
  • Women in War: How Ukrainian female soldiers are redefining their role in combat.
  • “I Fled Ukraine”: The story of how one woman left her home when Russian forces invaded—and why she’ll definitely go back.

Donate to humanitarian aid organizations

While there are plenty of ways for you to help without breaking the bank, the fact of the matter is that cash is needed during a crisis, and this is an easy way to do some good from afar. You can count on the following nonprofits to put your contributions to good use right now in Ukraine.

Nova Ukraine

Founded in 2014, this U.S.-based nonprofit supports vulnerable populations in Ukraine, working closely with civil activists in the country to provide immediate response where it is most needed. While the organization typically collects clothing, cash donations are preferred right now since “volunteers are overwhelmed and shipping to Ukraine is complicated,” explains Igor Krakov, a director at Nova Ukraine.

Krakov adds that continued support will be necessary. “The situation is quite dire,” he tells Reader’s Digest, “and there’s little information about how the EU will handle the influx of refugees.” Plus, while the Ukrainian hospital system recently underwent a large reform and is reasonably well-funded, the conflict has massively stressed the country’s resources. For that reason, Nova Ukraine is conducting a joint fundraiser with the nonprofits Razom and Sunflower of Peace to provide tactical medical training to Ukrainians.

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Razom’s mission is to increase civic engagement in Ukraine and amplify Ukrainian voices in the United States. While this nonprofit is based in New York, it has many partners in Ukraine. In this time of crisis, the organization is focused on delivering essential supplies to those who need them most.

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United Help Ukraine

United Help Ukraine provides individual first-aid kits (including blood-stopping bandages and tourniquets) and other emergency medical supplies to the front lines. The nonprofit also receives and distributes donations and food to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ukraine.

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The Ukrainian Red Cross

Volunteers gather humanitarian aid at a center established by Red Cross after Russian attacks in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on February 27, 2022.Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Ukrainian Red Cross uses funds to help those affected by armed conflict. It collects blood donations, mobilizes volunteers and resources, and provides psychosocial support to Ukrainians dealing with the stress and psychological impact of the escalation after eight years of ongoing armed conflict.

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The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

The JDC has been on the ground helping in Ukraine, but now the organization is also securing temporary housing for IDPs, launching an emergency hotline, purchasing satellite phones to help Ukrainians in need maintain communication, securing Jewish schools, training staff on how to manage the crisis, and more. The group estimates that $16 million is needed to meet immediate and short-term needs.

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Always a reliable place to donate during a crisis, UNICEF is working to meet urgent needs for water, health care, nutrition, and protection, and to provide support to children whose schools have been damaged. It is estimated that half of all Ukrainian children have been displaced, though all children have been affected by the hostilities, which pose an immediate threat to their well-being. The organization’s efforts are currently focused in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where child poverty rates average 60 percent.

UNICEF has also partnered with Nova Ukraine, setting a $2 million goal to help support children in the country. This program will provide food, water, hygiene, education, pediatric care, and more.

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Save the Children

While you might be eager to learn how to help Ukraine, you might also be wondering exactly what your donation will do. Save the Children says that $50 can provide 10 warm blankets to children in need, $100 can supply a month’s worth of food to a family, and $175 can provide emergency shelter materials to those in the middle of this armed conflict.

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International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Founded in 1933 at the behest of Albert Einstein in response to Germans suffering under the Nazi regime, the IRC has a long, storied history. It has come to the aid of refugees around the world and established emergency-aid programs for nearly every major conflict over the past 90 years. As part of its efforts in Ukraine, the IRC will be helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland receive necessary food, medical care, and other emergency support services.

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This trusted organization has facilitated more than $100 million in disaster donations since 2004, helping with numerous crises from Afghanistan to Syria. By donating to its Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, you will be helping to provide food, clean water, and shelter for refugees; medical and social support; and education and economic help to those in need.

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Project Hope

The good people at Project Hope don’t just provide necessary health care to those in disaster-stricken areas. They also help clinics and hospitals get what they need and train local health care workers. Founded in 1958, the group also dedicates time and resources to finding solutions for diseases, health policy, and maternal and child health. Efforts in Ukraine are currently focused on getting medical supplies to refugees and making health screening and care accessible.

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World Central Kitchen (WCK)

Staff members of a local restaurant together with the organization World Central Kitchen work to prepare sandwiches for refugees and Ukrainian territorial troops.SOPA Images/Getty Images

World-renowned chef José Andrés is no stranger to helping in times of crisis. He founded World Central Kitchen in 2010, after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, with a mission to help by providing food in the aftermath of a disaster. Since 2010, WCK has served more than 60 million fresh meals, and now it is helping both Ukrainian refugees and residents. In Ukraine, volunteers have delivered more than 1 million meals to bomb shelters, hospitals, churches, the front lines, and even Russian-occupied towns.

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World Food Program USA

Ukraine used to grow food for 400 million people around the world, but it’s estimated that 45 percent of the population is currently worried about having enough to eat. World Food Program USA has already fed more than 1 million Ukrainians since the start of the conflict and says that a $5 donation can provide 10 meals to those in need right now.

This group is part of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian organization. With food prices increasing and 30 percent of the world’s wheat almost entirely cut off due to the war in Ukraine, we’re entering what the WFP is calling “a year of catastrophic hunger,” and it’s also dedicating separate resources to people affected by this.

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World Vision

This Christian humanitarian aid organization, founded in 1950, is on a mission to end poverty and support women and children around the world. Through its Ukraine Crisis Fund, it is currently helping Ukrainian refugees in Romania by providing emergency assistance packages as well as educational and psychological support. It is also fulfilling needs for basic food and hygiene supplies within Ukraine. And you can rest assured that your money will be put to good use: Ninety percent of its operating expenses go to its programs.

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The Shelter Project

The Shelter Project is a brand-new initiative of the East Europe Foundation (EEF), a Ukrainian nonprofit established in 2008. This new offshoot focuses on helping internally displaced Ukrainians in need of lodging and refugees seeking safety in neighboring countries. It also provides humanitarian support, including the distribution of food and medicine to people in blockaded and unblocked territories. Volunteers have delivered around 35,000 food kits so far.

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International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Animals, especially shelter animals, are often left behind in times of crisis. IFAW is doing its best to make sure that doesn’t happen in Ukraine. Your donation will help two shelters in Donetsk and Gorlovka cover the cost of pet food, veterinary supplies, and more to care for the shelters’ 1,100 dogs that cannot be evacuated.

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Jaime Stathis
Jaime Alexis Stathis writes about health, wellness, technology, nutrition, careers and everything related to being a human being on a constantly evolving planet. In addition to Reader's Digest and The Healthy, her work has been published in Self, Wired, Parade, Bon Appétit, The Independent, Women’s Health, HuffPost and more. She is also a licensed massage therapist. Jaime is working on a novel about a heroine who saves herself and a memoir about caring for her grandmother through the dark stages of dementia.