BAKERSFIELD, Calif — Beginning Thursday, May 19, CityServe began coordinating a delegation to visit some of the Ukrainian refuge safehouses they have funded. Ivanka Trump, who earlier this year donated 1 million meals for CityServe to provide as emergency food assistance to Ukrainian families, joined the delegation in Poland to become better acquainted with the ongoing work to empower churches and synagogues that are providing relief for refugees.
“Local churches in Ukraine and neighboring countries are on the front lines of this devastating crisis,” said Karl Hargestan, Executive Director at CityServe International. “Our mission is to empower and resource these local churches as they welcome and care for the Ukrainian people with open arms. We’ve done just that, and we’re working to add to our efforts if the war continues.”
Over the next week, the delegation will listen to refugee testimonies to better understand the urgent needs, both physically and emotionally, as the war in Ukraine drags on. This weekend, CityServe is also hosting a leadership summit to give Ukrainian and Polish pastors a much-needed retreat, by providing encouragement and emotional and spiritual support. CityServe has already provided more than 150,000 thousand pounds of food to Ukrainian refugees, and mobilized dozens of congregations and temples to turn church buildings, synagogues and hotels into refugee safehouses. They have assisted churches in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova by helping expand their capacity to serve more refugee families.
“Over the past few days, I spent time with dozens of Ukrainian families who have sought refuge in Krakow and Warsaw, Poland,” said Ivanka Trump. “Along with my friends and partners from CityServe, City of Destiny, Intercessors for Ukraine, and Compassion Services International, we heard incredible stories of strength and resilience. Thankful for the local and Ukrainian ministry leaders who have provided so much compassion and support to families suffering amid this crisis.”
“Ivanka’s heart for hurting Ukrainian refugees is nothing short of inspirational,” added CityServe co-founder Dave Donaldson. “For her, partnering with CityServe to provide 1 million meals just wasn’t enough. She wanted to come show her personal support and encouragement. Thank God for leaders like Ivanka who genuinely care and are willing to step up and make a profound difference in so many lives. Right now, churches around the globe are stepping up to save lives and provide refuge for those who have left everything behind, and all of us at CityServe are committed to helping these churches expand and scale their impact.”
When the war in Ukraine began, CityServe announced a 4-fold strategy for helping churches tackle the crisis by:
- Building the capacity of the churches and synagogues in Ukraine, Poland, and Romania to become centers for the refugees. For example, in Luplin, Poland, they expanded a church refugee center from serving 50 to 250 refugee families.
- Expanding an emergency supply pipeline to procure and move food and emergency supplies from their warehouses into Ukraine, Poland, and Romania.
- Establishing a transportation network of trucks and vans to move emergency supplies to Ukraine and evacuate women, children, and the elderly to church and synagogue refugee centers in Poland, Romania and Moldova.
- Providing partners with grants for projects.
CityServe Europe’s distribution warehouse is located in Warsaw, Poland and distributes out to local churches in Ukraine, Poland, and Romania. For more information about the emergency relief provided by CityServe, visit https://cityservenetwork.com.