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Franklin Graham's Ministry Sends 100M Pounds of Food to Ukraine as Pastors Brave Harrowing Frontline Conditions

12-07-2022
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Workers load a plane with food bound for Ukraine. (Photo courtesy: Samaritan's Purse)

Samaritan's Purse, the Christian humanitarian arm of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), has announced it has reached a major milestone by distributing more than 100 million pounds (totaling 45,000 metric tons) of food in Ukraine. 

In addition, the international relief organization led by Franklin Graham, reports it continues to import 1.4 million pounds of food weekly into the war-torn country. 

Graham has visited Ukraine twice since the conflict began, and he is hoping to return sometime in January. In a statement, he explained the reason for the overwhelming need for food.

"As winter sets in, things in Ukraine are only getting worse. Many areas have lost electricity and food is impossible to buy in eastern parts of the country closer to the fighting," Graham said. "Samaritan's Purse has been buying and bringing food into the country every week, and we are also receiving food from the World Food Program."

"As of this week, we have distributed more than 100 million pounds (over 45,000 metric tons). We are working with our network of churches across Ukraine to distribute this food to people in need and remind them that God loves them. We need to continue to pray that God will work in the hearts of the leaders involved to bring an end to the conflict that has brought so much pain and devastation," he added. 

In dangerous areas, stores and shops have closed, leaving no way for people to buy food. Samaritan's Purse is distributing food through a network of churches across Ukraine. 
 
One of the ministry's partners described the current situation in Odessa and Khersonska.

"Food assistance is very necessary because shops do not work in the villages. The roads are very bad, there are no buses for local residents to go somewhere to find food," the partner said. "The transportation was destroyed by the war. Many people {have been} without money, electricity, water, and gas almost from the first days of the war. In villages that were under occupation, the food stocks that were in the houses have already run out or have been taken from them." 

Residents line up for food at a Samaritan's Purse distribution point inside Ukraine. (Photo courtesy: Samaritan's Purse)

These food distributions provide opportunities for spiritual ministry too. 

"It is good that people receive not only food but also love, care, and counseling. Most people are open to God. Since the war, {people} have united to love and care for their neighbors," the partner explained. "The war has changed people, and they are more open to hearing about God. Everyone knows that the church is always open for communication, overnight stays, and food." 

A volunteer hands a pregnant woman a bag of food at a distribution site. (Photo courtesy: Samaritan's Purse)

Samaritan's Purse also reports some of the brave pastors and church leaders who are partners with the ministry are also taking this food into the conflict zone. They face dangerous conditions to reach the distribution points. These unsung heroes take buses, vans, and even their own vehicles, loaded with food and other relief supplies from Samaritan's Purse to people who are suffering during the conflict. 

These pastors also offer to help residents evacuate, and some have been brought to safety through these individual missions. 

One pastor, whose name was not used for security reasons and who has helped drive food into the conflict zones, explained, "In some villages, there is no water, no heating system, no stores. Everything closed, but they need food. So we bring food there and invite them to evacuate, especially from that place where it's dangerous. This is another kind of our ministry. Go there, bring food from Samaritan's Purse, and bring people back from that area—and it works. Our drivers, they are very good Christians. They are very brave. We pray for them every time when they go."

In addition to the food distributions, the international relief organization is also distributing blankets, winter coats, wood stoves, firewood, generators, fuel, shelter kits, and tarps in Ukraine.  

Samaritan's Purse has also flown emergency relief supplies to Ukraine on 38 airlifts. On a number of return flights, 267 Ukrainians were airlifted from Poland to safety in Canada. 

Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham prays with a group of BGEG chaplains in Ukraine. (Photo courtesy: Samaritan's Purse)

Based in Boone, NC, Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people in more than 100 countries. The organization aims to meet the needs of victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ.

For more information, visit SamaritansPurse.org.

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