Hannu and Harri in Siret – Help for the Ukraine

It was still dark on Thursday, May, 5th at 4:00 am when I started the car and began my journey to the Ukrainian border to bring relief supplies there.

I had collected the things to take with me a few days before the trip and stored them at HILFE und HOFFNUNG’s warehouse. A nursing home donated many walking frames and four toilet chairs to HILFE und HOFFNUNG. Everything was packed into the bus. At Metro supermarket I also bought groceries and lots of sleeping bags. The bus was completely packed with a total of around 500 kg of relief supplies!

Our neighbor donated a large amount of pet food. I wasn’t sure if I should take it with me. However, our animal-loving neighbor assured me that many people flee to the border with their pets… she was right! At the border, I then asked the recipient of the aid, Tanja, whether the refugees had taken their pets with them – and indeed, animal feed is needed. Tanja was very happy because otherwise she would have had to buy pet food in Romania. Just the day before she had bought cat food in Romania.

So this is how God guides us in all things – according to the Bible. He loves both people and animals!

Harri Kröger got on in Budapest, because on such a long journey another driver is needed – and of course a good travel companion is welcome. The trip went well. At the Romanian-Ukrainian border, I was welcomed in Siret by Tanja, who works in Chernivtsi for an organization that runs several reception centers for refugees. All kinds of goods are needed – mainly food, medicines and vitamins. Tanja spoke about the situation in Ukraine and the fact that the Chernivtsi region in western Ukraine is relatively peaceful, although there can be air alerts several times a day.

After the load was transferred to the recipient’s car, we had a good exchange before praying for Tanja’s activities. Finally, we asked Tanja to convey our greetings to the Rabbi of the Jewish Community.

On the return trip we visited the President and Chairman of the Jewish Community in Radauti, Mr. Kofler. It was the first time we met him and we learned from him that the congregation consists of a few dozen mostly older members. We agreed to keep in touch.

The list of needs of the Radauti Jewish Community consists mainly of food and general financial support.

We stayed at the Jewish Leisure Center in Borsec, where Agnes and Sorin are working full time again. The concept of the leisure center was changed this year so that the rooms can be rented to everyone who wants to go hiking and enjoy the nature and healing springs of this Carpathian region. The center operates as a “Bed and Breakfast” pension, i. e. in addition to accommodation, the offer also includes breakfast.

(Hannu Ylitalo, May 2022)