Members of the military community are renowned for giving their time and money to help others, and many, like their civilian counterparts, are searching for ways to help the Ukrainian people.
If you are interested in helping, there are plenty of charities doing humanitarian work for the people of Ukraine, so do some research to find one that does the work you think is worthwhile and that will put your donation where you want it to go.
Be careful about crowdfunding sites, and avoid door-to-door solicitations and other “donate-on-the-spot-to-Ukraine-relief” solicitations. There are plenty of fraudsters that take advantage of people’s desire to do good things. As the Federal Trade Commission warns, every time there’s a crisis in the world, the scammers come out to try to take advantage. And there are certain red flags, such as those asking for donations in cash, by gift card or by wiring money. “Don’t do it. That’s how scammers ask you to pay,” the FTC warns.
Three charity ratings organizations have published suggestions on their websites for some nonprofits that are focusing on the Ukraine crisis: Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and Give.org. They also include tips for making sure you’re donating wisely.
Military Times did a quick comparison and found some charities that are on all three suggested lists. Make sure that if you donate, you specify that you want your money to go to the Ukraine relief effort, if that is you desire:
- Catholic Relief Services
- Direct Relief
- International Medical Corps
- International Rescue Committee
- Mercy Corps
- Operation USA
- Save the Children
- World Vision
Plenty of other charities are doing work for the people of Ukraine, so do some research to find one that you think is making a difference, and that will put your donation where you want it to go.
We did a spot check of some well-known charities that were suggested by two of the ratings groups, but not the third. In some cases, the charity wasn’t rated by the third group. In others, the ratings organization gave them high marks in their normal evaluation, but just hadn’t mentioned them in connection with Ukraine assistance. So do your research on what works for you.
There also may be some groups that you’re familiar with, that have little-known but ongoing efforts in Ukraine, or outside Ukraine to help refugees.
For example, TAPS Ukraine is a sister organization of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, known as TAPS. TAPS Ukraine was formally created in 2015 to provide the TAPS peer-based model of care to all those grieving the death of their military loved one. TAPS is in touch daily with the leadership of TAPS Ukraine about the needs, and is helping to meet those needs. Families of those killed in Ukraine need supplies, from baby formula to sleeping bags, according to the TAPS website. Funds donated to TAPS International are transmitted directly to TAPS Ukraine.
Are you a military family member involved in helping Ukrainian refugees in or near your community? Tell us about your efforts. Email reporter Karen Jowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.