Our Current Response (updated March 25, 2022)
What we have been doing?
-We have been both praying and doing.
-We rented a van and helped a family flee to the U.S.
-Our Executive Director and family are hosting 7 people from Ukraine
-We have networked with three international schools and are providing 250 Euros to each host family to give to their new Ukrainian families.
-We have purchased critical aid items and have delivered them to the border of Ukraine and Poland.
-We have given out 73 grants for a total of $17,235.30
-We have taxied Ukrainian people away from the border.
-We are involved in hundreds of conversations and networking seeking to find safe homes for thousands of people arriving daily.
-We have provided food, clothes, and shelter.
-We have made gift bags for little kids who are coming into Berlin via our Central Station.
-We have volunteered at our train station.
How we have decided to serve at this time
-Lodging in Krakow, Poland: We are committing to help a colleague finance renting a house in one of the primary epicenters of this refugees crisis. This will be a house FOR REFUGEES and for one years time. We have agreed to seek to raise $25,000.00 for this expense. Housing is the single greatest need at this time and our Executive Director is visiting the potential house and establishing a formal partnership with this NGO.
-Transport: We have purchased specific requested supplies and will be traveling to the Romania\Ukraine border on March 28th. We will shuttle people away from the border if needed.
We are using our funds from our non-profit, but those funds will run out. So, how will we use financial donations:
100% of all monies that are donated will be used to purchase supplies for Ukrainians who have fled here or are stuck in transit. All of the money will be used in one of five ways:
1. Direct purchase of specific supplies that are requested.
2. Rental vehicles for delivery (we don’t own a car).
3. Transportation costs for people in transit or emergency services that are unforeseen and unpredictable at this time.
4. Direct grants to families and individuals.
5. 1,000% other needs that are now unforeseen.
Our latest update from our Executive Director-Jimmy Renslow
Today, we added a sister-n-law and another girl into our family household so that makes us a complete 11 person football team . In the midst of the chaos however, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your generosity. At some point, we will be able to personally thank each of you, but in our current situation this is just not possible. With that being said, we sincerely appreciate your generosity. From the person who gave $5.00, to the little girl in Greensboro who gave $10.00, to those who are blessed to be able to give much more and all of those in between - thank you. So far, through The 5:14 Initiative we have been able to purchase supplies, deliver some of them, and have given direct financial grants many to Ukrainian families for a total of $18,423.54.
Our goal is to take in the funds via www.the514i.com and distribute them wisely and as quickly as possible. We steward these funds by giving them away not in our name, but in Jesus’ name, in his love, to people with DESPERATE need in this historic time.
I liken the city of Krakow to the country of Jordan during the Syrian crisis-overwhelmed but generous. While in Krakow I saw that the city is exploding with Ukranians from across the border. They are one of the primary epicenters for these precious displaced people.
While there, I felt like our work in this city was not done. Berlin is bursting right now with over 10,000 people arriving daily, but Krakow is smaller and closer to the border. Therefore, many people want to stay there so that they can return home sometime in the future. People are everywhere in the stations and the rooms in the Inn are completely full.
With that backdrop, I felt strongly compelled to ask my non-profit colleagues in Krakow if they would consider renting a house for Ukrainian refugees. They agreed to check into this option as they had never needed to research this before. They have now reported back that they have received approval from a landlord to allow refugees to live in this house. The house has two kitchens and can provide shelter and safety for 15-20 people whose faces would most likely rotate through as needed and perhaps provide space for mamas and their kids to feel safe. That's really where we are now. Trying to find a home for each person who fleas the war.
After giving this my attention, thought, and prayer, I told her that I would come to Krakow next week to view the house and see what we can commit to provide for them financially. To be honest with you, I really hope to provide $25,000.00 for them to rent the entire house for one year beginning next week! They can serve so many more people with lodging secured. In fact, even before I sent this out, someone committed to fund the first two months rent!
In the last few days, I have often thought of Jesus’ birth night and how there was simply no room for he and his family. He ended up entering this world in a cave-like stable. The people I see all around me share in that same situation and also no fault of their own; except, they are sleeping in crowded bus and train stations. It is in these moments that I am reminded of Jesus’ own words: “Whatever you do for the least of these my brothers [and sisters], you do for me.” So, in a very real, pragmatic, and practical way, - we are seeking to apply his own words and are searching for ways to find rooms in the inn and filling them with people made in his own image. LORD have mercy. Christ have mercy.