In April, I was introduced to Jim and Larissa Haas, the couple behind the terrific Rise Up Bakery in Barre City. By then, Larissa had crowdfunded more than $20,000 for aid to Ukraine and was using it to buy medical supplies. Luckily, I would be leaving for Germany on a trip with my Norwich University students just after she received the supplies, and given that my flight was already booked, Larissa saw it’d be cheaper for me to take them with me and drive to Poland than to ship them.

Larissa had put me in touch with Pawel, a Polish-born Ukrainian who lives in a town near the border, who would take the supplies the rest of the way to Kyiv. Once I got there, Pawel was wholeheartedly welcoming — after I dropped off the boxes, he invited me to a barbecue with some friends where there were a mix of other Polish-born Ukrainian and Ukrainian refugee families.

At the barbecue, we reflected on the fact there had been missile strikes only 10 kilometers away but where we were, people could feel completely safe on our side of that made-up line of the border. The question I heard from everyone there was whether we (Americans) supported them. They were grateful for the aid governments had been sending, and even more so for the aid coming from crowdfunded efforts like Larissa’s.

Though this war has gone on for months now and received a lot of media coverage, please don’t let it disappear from your consciousness — we can still help individual Ukrainians. If you have the means, let’s show them we do support them and please donate to Larissa’s fundraiser (www.gofundme.com/f/vermonters-for-ukraine) so we can get more medical supplies there and join us for “Vermont Stands with Ukraine” in Burlington (www.facebook.com/events/674297473865136) this Saturday.

Jeremy Hansen

Berlin

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