Operation Ukraine Humanitarian Mission

Day 4

Mihaela met two young students from Cernavtsi, Ukraine, who are temporarily staying in the city of Dej to serve as volunteer interpreters assisting through a partnership between House of Hope Association, Emanuel Baptist Church, which took in approximately 40 refugees. The small Village of Chiuesti (population 2332) took in 20 refugees.

Today, the team also met to finalize the logistics for the trip to Ukraine. The list of children includes 19 children and 14 mothers. The diagnostics include the following conditions: cancer, childhood autism, developmental disabilities, recurring bronchitis, and epilepsy. People and Deeds Association is handling the pre-arrival logistics to prepare the admission documentation as much as possible and minimize processing time with the Romanian authorities at the border.

final planning meeting

Mihaela is also scheduled to have interviews with Michigan Radio, Fox 2 News and Maranda.

Continuing to cover refuges stories, Mihaela plans to meet in the evening with several Ukrainian refugee families placed in temporary housing, where they receive assistance from congregation volunteers who are assisting with housing placement, donations, transportation and English and Romanian language training.

The refugee crisis in Ukraine is far from over. There are many ways to help refugees in your neighborhood, from monetary support to volunteering your time. Support Ukrainian Refugees in Michigan.

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* Important Notice *

Earlier this year, Samaritas was under investigation by the state for allegations of abuse in our emergency shelter in Grand Rapids. We opened this shelter 26 months earlier for children from Central America crossing the border fleeing from horrible condition; we were asked to take in Afghan youth when there was no other place for them to go after the crisis in Afghanistan occurred. We accepted 19 youth in response to this request and our long-term commitment to help youth to the greatest extent possible at the time of their greatest need. Samaritas was one of several similar emergency shelters across the country asked to take in these refugee youth.

Due to the severe level of trauma they had endured, many of them required intensive therapy and counseling. As a result of the growing concern we had for the depth and breadth of those needs of the youth and the safety of our team, we made the decision to work with our referring partners to move the youth to other programs where they could access the higher level of trauma-informed care, supervision, and medical attention that they required. Due to state and federal oversight of our programs, we are unable to share specific details of the investigation but we were cleared of any abuse allegations by the state and all youth were transferred to appropriate residential placements where they could receive the care they needed. Samaritas continues to be a state and federal leader in refugee resettlement, including refugee foster care.


Please Contact:
Joe DiBenedetto
Lambert & Co.
(516) 637-0597

Matt Friedman
Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications
(248) 762-1430