News Release

Latter-day Saints in Europe Donate Over 900 Tons of Food to Ukraine

Supply chain delays and shortages in Ukraine create urgent need for provisions

One of the many unfortunate effects of the conflict in Ukraine is the additional strain imposed on the supply chain for a host of provisions, especially food staples. This disruption has impacted everyday citizens across the country and limits their access to many basic items including ready-cooked canned meals, baby food, flour, pasta, and rice.

Following a casual introduction to an Advisor for the First Deputy Prime Minister in Ukraine, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered assistance with an emergency relief effort to deliver food provisions urgently to the people of Ukraine. 

“When this government advisor reached out to me initially, we connected him with our Humanitarian Service team and he was very impressed,” said Oleksiy Hakalenko who works as an Area Manager for the Church and oversees Church humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. “As he learned more, he became increasingly enthusiastic about partnering with the Church on this multi-faceted food donation project.”

In cooperation with the Ukrainian government, the Church initiated an emergency relief project to deliver needed food items to provisioning centres and warehouses in the nearby countries of Poland and Romania. Government entities in Ukraine then accessed their established transport network to ship food supplies to specific locations in Ukraine to be distributed. The focus of government shipments has been to get food supplies to those areas and communities of greatest need in Ukraine.

This elaborate humanitarian effort was both sizeable and logistically difficult. Daniel Garcia, a buyer in the Church Purchasing Department in the Europe Area, commented “we were challenged daily to find suppliers who had inventory we could purchase and who could ship within a narrow time frame. The high cost of fuel also presented an obstacle resulting in potentially delayed deliveries and increased transport costs.”

Suppliers were identified and contacted in many countries including Germany, Spain, Poland, and Romania, among others. The key requirement was their ability to deliver enormous quantities of food in a noticeably short period of time.

“The process of sourcing provisions was also hindered by language barriers,”García concluded, “In a few cases all communication had to be accomplished through Google translate".

The emergency shipments were made over a period of eight weeks during April and May 2022. The Church delivered over 1,000 pallets of food items during that time. Combined with earlier relief provided to the people of Ukraine, the Church’s humanitarian donations there total over 900 tons of food and other provisions.

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