A Langley church has already raised more than $50,000 to help a network of sister churches in Poland that are taking in Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.
“We just went to social media, we said ‘We’ve got partners, they’re at the border, they need help,’” said Derrick Hamre, pastor at Christian Life Assembly (CLA).
They had $35,000 raised by the end of the last weekend in February, which was quickly sent to Poland, and have now increased that to $50,000.
“After Sunday services we will send everything we have collected to that point,” Hamre told the Langley Advance Times.
Their partner in Poland are the Pentecostal Movement churches there, led by Bishop Marek Kaminski.
“We’ve been helping them for years,” said Hamre. CLA has some Polish-speaking church members, and has been working with the Polish churches on things like leadership development.
When the Russian invasion struck Ukraine, and people began streaming across Ukraine’s western border seeking safety, the Polish churches, about 100 of them in total, took action.
“They are on the ground, involved in going to the border,” Hamre said.
Volunteers in vans head to the borders, pick up newly arrived refugees, and take them to the communities where the churches are located.
The bulk of the refugees are being billeted with local families, staying in homes.
There is also a temporary refugee centre with cots.
CLA’s funding is helping with the cost of fuel and transport for the van drivers shuttling to and from the border, with the expenses of the billets, like buying cots, clothing, and toiletries, and helping with the refugee centre’s supplies, including medical supplies.
“Everything we receive, we simply forward on to them,” Hamre said.
He noted that with large church or non-governmental organization agencies, there can be a layer of bureaucracy that slows down aid in times of crisis. But because CLA already had its partnership with the Polish Pentecostal Movement, it was easy to get the funding over to Europe.
Another project of CLA is to send a doctor who is a member of a Victoria branch of the church over to Poland. He’ll be coordinating with Bishop Kaminski and setting up a clinic right on the border to serve the refugees.
Anyone interested in donating to the project can visit clachurch.com.
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