The Hungarian Reformed Church Aid (HRCA) offered three minibuses to better facilitate the distribution of donations in Transcarpathia. The new vehicles will transport food and hygiene products collected in Hungary to the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia, Ukraine. The organisation has already supported refugees with more than 370 tonnes of in-kind donations in the past month and a half.
"Even if the armed conflict stopped today, it would still take months or even years to restore the situation in Ukraine to the point where there would be no need for continued support," said Márton Juhász, executive director of HRCA. The organisation has been providing targeted assistance to the people of Transcarpathia since 2014, and was immediately called into action when the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out. In the past one and a half months, since the Russian aggression stated, more than 220 tonnes of in-kind donations have already crossed the border and 150 tonnes have been delivered to Hungary to help refugees.
Due to the increased workload, 70 new staff members have joined HRCA's team since the end of February, working in warehouses, logistics centres or behind the wheel. Márton Juhász also said that in the last few weeks donations have been delivered almost non-stop to Transcarpathia, where help is badly needed. "Last week we delivered medicines to the hospital in Uzhhorod. The head of the department told us that, in addition to the 100,000 local residents, there are currently 50,000 refugees in the city who need to be taken care of," the CEO of HRCA said. “While a lot of people are leaving their homes and the country, many elderly and mobility-impaired people are staying alone, and they need particular attention and special care,” he added.
In order to distribute donations more efficiently, it is now essential to have more vehicles to deliver necessary goods across the border. For this reason, the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid has donated three minibuses to the three Reformed presbyteries of the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia. The HRCA is also supporting the employment of three drivers on a fixed-term contract to ensure that the donations reach the local communities, the needy and the refugees who have been sheltered and cared for in congregations.
"Every day, we experience the help of the Reformed Church in Hungary, which through the activities of HRCA becomes a truly tangible sign of love and solidarity. And with these three buses, we can take our assistance to new levels," said Attila Balog, dean of the Reformed Presbytery of Ung in Transcarpathia. He said that many Transcarpathians have already fled to Hungary, which is visible in the number of those attending worship services. The dean said that the biggest challenge at the moment is to help and care for refugees, more precisely internally displaced persons. “Our most important mission and task right now is to help those who often leave Eastern Ukraine with only a small bag of clothes. We need to provide them with shelter and food," he added. Members of the Hungarian Reformed community in Ukraine, who have stayed in the area are also doing their part to help, offering everything they just can. “For example, they are trying to get buckwheat for Ukrainian refugees and make a meal out of it, which is almost a national dish in Ukraine”, the dean said. But the congregations are not alone: the Transcarpathian Reformed local churches are in constant contact with each other and the donations are targeted to the communities most in need.