Ukrainians need supplies to keep ‘holding the line’: Non-profit president
Razom for Ukraine president Dora Chomiak joins ‘Fox News Live’ to share how her organization is helping to provide life-saving first aid kits to Ukrainians.
“Hunger always follows conflict,” noted Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World, a Christian advocacy group that includes individuals, churches, nonprofit groups and other partners, in reference to the Russia-Ukraine war that continues to rage.
Sharing with Fox News Digital in a recent phone interview that his group’s “mission is to help end hunger in our country and around the world,” Rev. Cho said the crisis of the war in Ukraine has only exacerbated the hunger problem.
“For me, as a Christian and as a Christian pastor, my heart just breaks for the people of Ukraine,” he said. “I’m also grieving for the millions of other people whose lives have been impacted in one way or another as a result of this war.”
Rev. Cho pointed out that “so much attention has been taken away from other places around the world that are also going through their own humanitarian crises.”
Seattle-based Rev. Eugene Cho heads up Bread for the World (bread.org). In a conversation with Fox News Digital, he shared three ways people can help Ukrainians and others who are suffering from hunger and other issues.
(Lacey Johnson/Bread for the World)
He noted that while this is not a new observation, it is nevertheless “stunning that 4 million Ukrainian refugees have left the country, and obviously they’re fleeing to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and other countries,” he said. “We’re talking about millions more that are internally displaced.”
Underneath that layer of truth, he said, “there is a major hunger crisis going on.”
Part of the reason this is “such dramatic news,” he pointed out, is “the fact that Russia and Ukraine account for about 29%-30% of global wheat exports for the entire world.”
People watch as smoke rises in the air after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, on Sunday, April 3, 2022. Bread for the World is advocating "fervently" for help for those suffering in Ukraine and elsewhere around the world as a result of the war, Rev. Cho told Fox News Digital.
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
They are also leading exporters of fertilizer and fuel, said Cho.
“So now, because of those three things — food, fertilizer and fuel — there is a tremendous crisis, throughout that region and around the world. It’s why we’re advocating so fervently” for help for the suffering, he said.
In terms of how everyday people can pitch in to assist in a meaningful way, Rev. Cho said, “First, I love the fact that people are asking that question. So I want to begin with affirmation.”
Women stand next to a car as smoke rises in the air in the background after shelling in Odesa, Ukraine, on Sunday, April 3, 2022.
(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
“We live in a world where the news cycle changes so quickly, where people” become distracted and move onto the next thing, he said.
“So in terms of the war in Ukraine, let’s keep asking that question, ‘What can we do?’”
He shared three concrete answers to that question from his point of view.
3 important ways to help
Rev. Cho said, “First, we should be in prayer for the people of Ukraine, for that entire region.”
The reason prayer is important is that “it helps our hearts to remain empathetic,” he said. “That’s a first and very important step toward keeping us in solidarity with people who are suffering.”
“We might not be able to solve every problem in the world, but we can do something. We can all care.”
Second, he advised, “People can donate to organizations they trust, that resonate with their values, including to Bread for the World.”
Then, third, “While we encourage people to donate to organizations that are doing direct relief, our work is unique. The Bread for the World work is around advocacy. We live that advocacy” all day long, he said.
His group — a nonpartisan organization (bread.org) — engages with elected leaders to make them aware of the needs of hungry people all over the world.
In line with this, he said Americans can call their members of Congress and urge them to help those in need. “We encourage Americans to lead with moral, empathetic voices” to help others in crisis, he said.
The Ukraine flag is shown here against a turbulent sky. Rev. Cho said that "all Christians can have, and do have, a sense of concern and care about what’s going on among those who are suffering."
As a person whose focus is faith forward, Rev. Cho added, “I feel that for me, as a Christian and a pastor — I want to be marked by compassion. And all Christians can have, and do have, a sense of concern and care about what’s going on among those who are suffering,” he said.
“At a time when so many people are feeling a little helpless or hopeless, all we’re called to do is to do what we can, to invest in compassion and mercy.”
“We might not be able to solve every problem in the world — and it’s not necessarily our job to do that — but we can do something. We can care,” he said. “At a time when so many people are feeling a little helpless or hopeless, all we’re called to do is to do what we can, to invest in compassion and mercy.”
A Ukrainian army soldier, 22, checks her phone after a military sweep to search for possible remnants of Russian troops after their withdrawal from villages in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday, April 1, 2022.
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
He added poignantly that his own father, who is 86 today, lived through the Korean War — “and he spent time separated from his family. He lived in a refugee camp” during that war, said Rev. Cho.
“These are human beings who are created in the image of God. They deserve dignity, peace, stability — and may we each do our part.”
He also “experienced severe hunger,” said Cho. “My father has recounted stories of pulling out grass from the ground to consume it, to satisfy his hunger pangs.”
So “watching the [war] news on television with my father in recent weeks has been very, very emotional,” he said. “And I realize as I’m processing the news, he’s actually reliving the past in some ways.”
These people are trying to escape harm in Ukraine; here, a man is shown carrying a young child at a refugee camp.
Rev. Cho said he’s grateful that his father came out of the war situation decades ago “not only alive, but able to reunite with his family” — and able to move forward in his life.
“And so I would just like to remind people that whoever they are, whatever they are going through, whatever their faith background may be or may not be — and as they’re watching the news, listening to the news — we should never forget that this is not about mere statistics, or faceless, nameless people.”
He added, “These are human beings who are created in the image of God. They deserve dignity, peace, stability — and may we each do our part.”
Bread for the World assists anyone who wants to reach out to members of Congress or other elected officials.
A man reacts to the destruction while standing near his ruined house after Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday, March 21, 2022.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Rev. Cho pointed out that people in countries such as Afghanistan — which may not be at the top of news coverage right now, though it was, of course, months ago and well before that — are still suffering from severe food shortages and hunger crises.
He also named Yemen; food prices “have more than doubled in that country.”
“I am urging our leaders to lead — to demonstrate to other nations and other leaders what it means to lead with empathetic, moral courage.”
He made clear it is not the U.S.’s job to take care of every problem worldwide.
“But I am urging our leaders to lead — to demonstrate to other nations and other leaders what it means to lead with empathetic, moral courage.”
Before coming to Bread for the World in 2020, Eugene Cho founded and for 18 years served as senior pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington. He is married and a father of three.
Bread for the World was founded in 1982. It is a 501c3 organization; donations are tax-deductible. Charity Navigator, the world’s largest nonprofit evaluator, rates it highly and says that people can “give with confidence.”
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