Russian invasion: How NJ can help children, women, animals of Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the decision to invade bordering Ukraine.
Now the world watches via live stream and cable news as Russia's military carries out a full-scale operation in and around the next-largest country in Europe.
As of 2019, New Jersey was home to the fourth-largest Ukrainian population in the United States. The largest influx came after World War II as displaced Ukrainian citizens needed a safe home.
The next largest wave of mass migration into New Jersey, according to MyCentralJersey.com, took place in the early 1990s.
At the time, the big Ukrainian population centers were Trenton, Newark and Perth Amboy and there was a sizable community in New Brunswick, Piscataway and Franklin.
While the world waits to see what Vladimir Putin will do next, there is no doubt New Jersey's Ukrainian population is watching with heavy hearts and fear for loved ones back in their home country.
No one knows what will happen in the hours, days, and weeks to come, but what we do know is Ukraine needs help. And there are organizations you can contribute to right now. Some of these groups are dedicated to helping Ukraine's war effort. Others specify in helping children, the elderly, women, and more.
Help Ukraine's war effort
Save Life: Crowdfunds non-lethal military equipment like thermal vision scopes and supplies to the front lines in the disputed Donbas region. They also provide training for Ukrainian soldiers, and helps the troops reacclimate to life after their time in the military.
Donbas SOS: Helping citizens living in the Donbas war zone relocate to safer parts of Ukraine. They also provide legal support, accommodation assistance, and psychological aid.
Crimea SOS: Dedicated to helping displaced people from Crimea since Russia's occupation of the peninsula in 2014.
Hospitallers: A medical battalion that united volunteer paramedics and doctors to save the lives of soldiers. They also crowdfund repairs for soldiers' vehicles repairs, fuel, and medical equipment.
Help Ukrainian children
Tabletochki: Supports children with cancer for 10 years, procuring medicines, equipment, and even arranging overseas treatment.
Ruka ob Ruku: A running club for children with disabilities. The initiative gives children an opportunity to train and take part in races with parents and volunteers.
Help Ukraine's LGBTQ+ community
Insight: A Ukrainian public organization whose main values are equality, feminism, freedom, inclusiveness, diversity for all social groups. Depending on just how far Putin takes the invasion, Ukraine's LGBTQ+ population could be at high risk of violence.
Help Ukraine's women
Women Perspectives: This organization helps Ukrainian women facing domestic violence, discrimination in the labor market, and other issues.
Help the animals
Sirius: This is the largest shelter for stray animals in the whole country. Your money goes toward animal food, veterinary drugs, construction and repair of enclosures, and other needs.
UAnimals: A movement for protecting animals from exploitation and abuse.
Help investigative journalism
UKRPravda News: Founded by Georgiy Gongadze, a Ukrainian journalist who was kidnapped and killed. They are dedicated to reporting political scoops and abuses of power.
As Russia's invasion of Ukraine unfolds before our eyes, there will no doubt be more and more organizations stepping up to ask for help.
Many in New Jersey's Russian population are also walking around with a heavy heart today. A large amount of Russians, especially those who have escaped the clutches of Vladimir Putin for safer conditions, harshly condemn his actions taking place now, as well as the 2014 occupation of the Crimea peninsula.
Our hearts go out to anyone wondering if their friends or relatives will remain safe during this invasion.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.