Men’s religious orders are offering assistance at 156 locations, welcoming 738 families (a total of 3,630 people, including 1,483 children).
More than 300 parish houses of religious and pastoral ministries have taken in over 300 families (1,333 people in total, including 518 children.)
Four centers run by religious have welcomed 61 disabled people, including 37 children.
The conference of major superiors of male religious orders in Poland has distributed more than 1,500 prepaid cell phone cards for Ukrainian refugees, in cooperation with the telecommunications firm Orange Polska.
Religious communities are serving thousands of meals a day, with male congregations alone providing around 5,000 meals.
Religious institutions are providing care and activities for Ukrainian children, as well as English-language courses. Children are also being admitted to religious congregations’ kindergartens and schools.
In some places, legal and psychological help is being provided, as well as translation of documents necessary to seek employment.
Trucks and cars packed with aid
Since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Polish bishops’ team for aid to the Church in the east has organized aid shipments.
Some 147 trucks and 180 buses have been sent to Ukraine with aid with an estimated total value of around $6 million.
Shipments are also being organized by religious congregations and Catholic communities, movements, and associations. At least 34 cars from men’s religious houses have departed for Ukraine, carrying humanitarian aid.
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Caritas Poland director Father Iżycki said: “In Poland, Caritas organizes humanitarian transports to Ukraine. Since the beginning of the war, we have sent about half a thousand trucks and buses. We estimate the value of this aid at 35 million złoty [around $8 million].”
Polish clergy serving in Ukraine have remained with their flocks. There are about 700 priests (including 170 religious priests and three bishops who are religious). In addition, 21 brothers and 332 sisters of Polish religious congregations are based in Ukraine.
Coordinating aid from abroad
The Church in Poland is also helping to coordinate aid from outside the country. Caritas Poland is cooperating closely with Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis, as well as parallel Church organizations in Italy, Germany, and the United States.
Caritas Poland has also begun talks with the U.N. refugee agency about cash assistance that would be provided in dioceses.
Father Iżycki, the charity’s director, said: “As of today, Caritas Poland has collected 83 million złoty [around $20 million], out of which 38 million [almost $9 million] comes from collections in churches and parishes and will remain in diocesan Caritas organizations for their local work. It’s a record amount in the history of Caritas Poland.”