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Stories About Welcoming Ukrainian Refugees That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

Instead of waiting to figure out the “right” way to help, these people are leaping into action to help Ukrainian refugees in the most beautiful ways.

Every second, a Ukrainian child becomes a refugee
Over three million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began. The majority of Ukrainian refugees are women and children, and they’re part of what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is calling the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. Every second, one more Ukrainian child becomes a refugee of the Ukraine-Russia War, the organization reports.

Nearly two million of these Ukrainian refugees have gone to nearby Poland. Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, and Romania have also taken in large numbers of people fleeing the war. Meanwhile, Europe is offering to take in more, and President Biden officially announced that the United States will “welcome Ukrainian refugees with open arms.”

People all over the world have been doing extraordinary things—big and small—to aid, comfort, and protect Ukrainian refugees. War brings out the worst in people, but it also provides an incredible opportunity to showcase the best of humanity. We’ve rounded up some of the most heartwarming stories of how people are welcoming Ukrainian refugees and how you can help Ukraine right now.

An American man finds shelter for families fleeing with pets
American Aaron Jackson didn’t go to the Poland-Ukraine border with the intention of helping refugee families with pets, but the animal lover (and founder of the nonprofit Planting Peace) quickly found his calling. He was speaking with the director of an animal shelter when a family with a cocker spaniel approached.

The director explained that they were Ukrainian refugees who wanted to give their dog to the shelter because they were homeless and didn’t want their dog to be out in the cold. Jackson leaped into action, and within 20 minutes, he’d found the family pet-friendly housing that would take them and pup Bella.

“You have these families who have traveled 100 miles, 200 miles, to get to the border, and they’ve walked 50 of those miles with a dog on their back,” Jackson told the Dodo. “So if a person is willing to do that for their dog … I’m going to try to do anything in my power to get them into housing with their pet—especially since they’ve already given up so much already.”

A German family welcomes a Ukrainian family, no questions asked
Distance was no obstacle for Karsten, a German man who drove 11 hours from Frankfurt to the Polish border with one goal in mind: find a family of Ukrainian refugees to help. He held up a simple sign offering “transfer and accommodation” and within an hour was bringing Bulia Muhammad and her children to his home.

“We have watched what’s happening. We have seen the pictures on TV, my daughter and me, and we said, ‘This is so horrible.’ We want to make a small contribution, however small it may be,” he told the National News. “But we believe it could make a difference.”

Chefs provide meals at the Ukrainian border
As soon as Spanish-American chef José Andrés saw the news about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he jumped into action, loading trucks full of food. He had previously set up his charity organization, World Central Kitchen, for exactly this type of situation. He and his team of chefs and volunteers bring meals to survivors of all types of disasters, both natural and man-made.

“We are supporting Ukrainian refugees along the border and in Warsaw, Krakow, and other cities. We will be next to them as long as we are needed.” His Twitter bio sums up his stance and offers advice for other would-be do-gooders: We all are Citizens of the World. What’s good for you must be good for all. If you are lost, share a plate of food with a stranger … you will find who you are.