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How you can support these Washington state organizations that help Ukraine

Ivan Kalashnyk holds his wife, Kate Kalashnyk, who moved together from Ukraine two years earlier to the Seattle area, as they attend a demonstration Thursday in Seattle in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  (Associated Press)
Ivan Kalashnyk holds his wife, Kate Kalashnyk, who moved together from Ukraine two years earlier to the Seattle area, as they attend a demonstration Thursday in Seattle in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Associated Press)
By Alysa Messmer Bellingham Herald

The recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine has raised many questions for people around the world.

Although Washington state is far from the violence, there are neighbors, communities and individuals in the area who are affected by the war.

From October 2020 through September 2021, 218 Ukrainian refugees entered Washington state, according to the Refugee Processing Center, a data organization that assists in the processing of refugees who enter the United States, that is operated by the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

In the last four months, 79 more Ukrainian refugees have been given asylum in Washington state.

As the Ukrainian community grows, Washington state organizations are striving to support their Ukrainian-American neighbors.

Here are a few Washington state organizations working to support the Ukrainian people, and how you can help:

Refugee Response, Lutheran Community Services Northwest

Lutheran Community Services Northwest started in 1921 in Tacoma, and now “partners with individuals, families and communities for health, justice and hope” across Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

President and CEO of Lutheran Community Services Northwest David Duea released a statement on Facebook on February 24, addressing the Ukraine crisis and how it affects those in the Pacific Northwest:

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is on all of our minds. We have several team members who are formerly from Ukraine and Russia. Over the years, we have resettled thousands of Ukrainian refugees here in the Pacific Northwest – more than 2,100 over the last five years, in Tacoma, Portland and Vancouver,” Duea wrote . “Our prayers go out to our Ukrainian friends, as well as to our Russian staff and the people of Russia who do not support this aggression and who feel helpless. Our call, locally, is to show compassion to all.”

The organization offers refugee and immigrant services, behavioral health services, family and community support, child welfare programs, crime victim services and aging and independent living services.

The organization’s Refugee Response program asks for donations to assist families coming into the country, but also provides a list of items refugees and asylum seekers are often in need of and can be donated, such as bedding, clothing for cold weather, and diapers.

Lutheran Community Services Northwest has six Washington locations with their main Tacoma office located at 3848 S. Junett St. It can be contacted by calling (253) 272-8433.

The Ukraine Association of Washington State

The Ukraine Association of Washington State was founded in 1971 and “works to preserve Ukrainian heritage and is the link that unites our Ukrainian-American people. The Association is active in organizing the various cultural and artistic activities as well as patriotic gatherings,” according to the association’s website.

The association asks for support in multiple ways, such as donations and volunteering, as well as partnerships and sponsorships. This Saturday, the association is also organizing a peaceful rally against the war in Ukraine, which will start at the Space Needle at 3:00 p.m. and include speakers from different national organizations and provide attendees with information about humanitarian aid.

The Ukraine Association of Washington State can be contacted by phone at (206) 412-8485 or by email at uaofws@gmail.com.

World Relief Seattle

World Relief Seattle was started in 1979 and works to welcome refugees into Western Washington communities. They offer services such as refugee and asylum seeker resettlement, education, children and youth support, immigration legal services, employment and economic services and more, with a mission to “be a sustainable and holistic center of compassion and practical support by offering a suite of services to meet community needs and build welcoming communities,” their website states.

The website also notes that they partner with local clergy and “hundreds of individual volunteers” that help families newly arrived to the United States. They work in partnership with the U.S. Department of State to secure housing, supply basic necessities, enroll kids in school and more according to the website.

World Relief Seattle has many ways you can help them and support their mission, such as donating online, engaging your church to work alongside the organization, volunteering, and donating goods such as household items, bicycles, your used car, or finding more items on their Amazon Wishlist to meet the needs of those seeking help.

World Relief Seattle has two offices in King County and Whatcom County.

The King County office is located at 23835 Pacific Hwy S, Suite 100 in Kent, WA, which can be contacted by calling (253) 277-1121. The Whatcom County office is located at 1530 E. Bakerview Road, Bellingham, WA 98225, which can be reached by calling (360) 592-3136.

Ukrainian Community Center of Washington

The Ukrainian Community Center of Washington was started in 1992 with the mission to “promote community empowerment, leadership essay editor development, self-reliance and health promotion for the greater refugee/immigrant community in the State of Washington,” according to the center’s website.

The center offers immigration services, social services and behavioral health services for those seeking help. The center not only hopes to help educate Ukrainian refugees and make their transition into America easy, but they hope to help build the characters of those seeking refuge to shape better lives for themselves:

“Our purpose is not only to assist and educate the Ukrainian/Russian community but to provide them with a sense of unity and well-being, and by doing so we help them avoid negative influences such as drugs, alcohol, and gang-related activities,” their website states.

You can support the Ukrainian Community Center of Washington by donating online here.

The Ukrainian Community Center of Washington is located at 13470 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. in Seattle and can be contacted by calling (425) 430-8229.

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