I decided I wanted to dedicate a part of my summer to helping Ukrainian refugees who were fleeing war. Where should I go? What should I do?
I searched online for dozens of organizations around Europe that offered support to the refugees.
After spending many hours researching, I reached out to ten different organizations. Only three wrote back to me.
I asked each organization one additional question. Two replied.
Out of the two, I decided that the best fit for me was A Drop in the Ocean. (Drapen I Havet)
I chose well.
This NGO works with other organizations to bring humanitarian aid to vulnerable populations across several different countries.
They are organized, staffed with caring people and amaze me with their ability to partner with other organizations to bring the best possible support to people who need it most.
They work with refugees in Greece, Norway, Bosnia and Poland.
What are the advantages of Volunteering?
Make a Difference:
Meet Cool People:
See New Places:
Want to volunteer full time in Krakow at the Szafa Dobra (Wardrobe of Good) as I have?
It is a large free shop, with sections divided by sizes for women, men, children and babies. There are also toys and accessories. There are dressing rooms, registration for new underwear and shoes (when they are in stock) and a place for children to play.
They desperately need help. You can choose each day if you’d rather work in the warehouse – away from refugees, or on the floor assisting in the restocking of the store as I did.
Want to volunteer full time, as I have done, for a week or longer? Apply through this link: Become a field worker - Dråpen i Havet (drapenihavet.no) You will have a video call with Sofia, a coordinator. (You will love, love, love Sofia as much as we all do. Tell her I still want to go camping with her and eat reindeer stew!!!)
This is a full-on commitment to volunteer 8 hours a day and attend one team meeting a week. There are also team dinners two days a week, so you get to hang out with the cool volunteers you work with in the shop.
Many volunteers also spend time together outside of these times.
I am truly amazed at the people I have met through this volunteering. Kind. Compassionate. Interesting. Fun. Hard working.
When I volunteered, the shop was located on the outskirts of the city and is close to a Hilton hotel, that offers discounts for volunteers. Krakow is easy to navigate with trams and busses, or you can take an Uber to most places in the city for $5 - $10 dollars a ride.
The shop has moved to two different locations, which will help more people get the items they need.
Want to volunteer a half a day, or a few days at the Szafa Dobra while you are passing through Krakow?
Send an email to this link. It goes to the multicultural center in Krakow that offers volunteer support around the city.
Currently the email will be answered by the lovely Agnieszka. (Tell her I said hello!)
Other ways to help:
Read, watch the news, follow true stories. Pay attention to the terror that they are living through. We don’t want to read about travesties, but at the very least we have to witness the problems of the world if we want them corrected.
You don’t have to travel to support needy causes. Consider donating to organizations that help vulnerable peoples. I will let you do your own research to find the best places to send money.
I ran a fundraiser to buy shoes, socks, underwear and bras for the refugees and we raised over $2,500. A little money goes a long, long way when you are helping people in need.
For additional reading, check out this article in the New York Times about a reporter who spent two weeks volunteering at the Free Shop with his girlfriend. It has additional links to other organizations:
Thanks for reading.
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