It’s incredibly sad the Ukrainian people continue to suffer when all they want is freedom. In spite of Putin’s brutal and unprovoked attacks, the Ukrainian people have shown remarkable courage, strength, and hope. It’s been gratifying seeing the kindness of humanity, people reaching out all over the world to help in any way they can. Those kindnesses contribute to a sense of hope and help the Ukrainian people bear the unbearable as they fight for their freedom.
Here are stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Acts of kindness that are giving the world hope and acts of courage that are inspirational.
1. Many refugees have left their homes in a hurry with very limited belongings. They’ve waited in line for hours at the border, cold and hungry. It’s still winter so they need warm clothing and basic supplies. And locals are offering them these supplies at every turn, as in this donation box near Warsaw, which is full of clothing on one side and a fridge full of food on the other.
2. People from all over the world are buying items on eBay, Etsy, and VRBO among other sites, never expecting to receive the services or items. They are doing this as a way to get money directly to Ukrainians and let them know we see them and support them. They place the order and then message the buyer to say they don’t actually want them to ship the item, they just want them to take the money as a donation.
One Ukrainian’s response, “You can’t even imagine how pleased we are to hear that we are not alone, tears in our eyes, I am very grateful to you for your support in this difficult time for us and all of Ukraine.”
3. Maarten Roelofs in the Netherlands, was asked if he could help the wife of a former employee who was arriving at the border and was 9 months pregnant. He had never met her but immediately agreed.
“Maarten sent out a WhatsApp to our street group and asked if someone could accompany him on a 15-hour drive to bring Ellen to safety,” said Hans. “I thought, yes, I can do that and so I took off work. We have been here a few hours and it is dramatic and completely heart-breaking. I cannot imagine the stress of leaving homes and husbands and, in Ellen’s, case being heavily pregnant with her first baby and having to flee bombing and shelling not once but twice.”
4. A mother who was not in Ukraine at the time of the invasion, was trying to find a way to get her kids safely out of Ukraine. Her husband, couldn’t leave due to a new law requiring all men to stay back and fight. Desperate, the father took his two children, to the border, trying to see how he could get them across safely. Once there, he asked a stranger who was crossing the border herself if she would take his two children across for him and turn them over to their mother. The woman, known as Ableyeva, didn’t hesitate. She said, “Their father simply handed over the two kids to me, and trusted me, giving me their passports to bring them over.” She got the children out and into their mother’s arms in an emotional reunion.
5. “Vitaly Skakun is hailed as a hero after sacrificing his life to blow up the Henichesky Bridge. The bridge was mined but a Russian column was advancing and there was no time to detonate it remotely. Skakun radioed his unit and told them he would do it manually, saying goodbye.” – Inside Edition
6. Nick Horseman, drove 30 hours to the Polish Ukrainian border to bring in essential provisions and medical supplies, but he was so moved by the scale of the unfolding human disaster that he had stayed to help.
“He has since ferried 20 women and children (and the occasional dog) to safety, driving 14 hours a day and spending £3,000 of his own money to pay for their first night’s accommodation in a hotel and hot meals on their way to wherever they ask to go.
He added, “When I dropped them in Krakow, the one mother said to me, ‘I didn’t realize there were people like you in the world’. It made me feel so inadequate to receive such extreme gratitude for such a small gesture.” He got back in his car and drove back to the border and loaded up with four more women and children.” – Evening Standard
7. One woman walked 10 miles at 4 in the morning in minus seven-degree weather carrying her elderly German shepherd. One of her two dogs is 12 and half years old. He started out walking but it was apparent the dog couldn’t make it as he was struggling and then collapsed to the ground. The owner, Alisa, said “Our dogs are part of our family” and said she could not even think about leaving them behind.
8. Polish moms left strollers at the train station, for Ukrainian moms who may need them when they arrive in Poland with their kids. Some of the strollers were filled with supplies such as warm blankets and other items the children may need.
9. We are defined by how we treat our enemies. While Ukrainians have good reason to feel hate, they found their inner humanity.
Watch the video showing a captured young Russian soldier being fed a sandwich and tea by local Ukrainian women. Allowed to video-call his mother back home, the soldier immediately burst into tears. Ukrainians who have encountered such young Russian conscripts say many of them are teenagers and have no idea why they are fighting in Ukraine.
10. Thousands of Germans showed up at the central train station in Berlin with signboards offering refugees fleeing Ukraine a place to stay.
11. People from all walks of life, people who never would have considered bearing arms before, are leaving their jobs and families and joining the fight in Ukraine.
Oleksiy Potyomkin, a famous ballet dancer is one of them. One day he’s rehearsing a leading role for the ballet company of Kyiv’s National Opera of Ukraine, the next he’s wearing military fatigues, carrying a weapon, and fighting for the freedom of Ukraine.
12. An 11-year-old boy traveled more than 600 miles to Slovakia – alone. His mother wanted to get him to safety but she couldn’t leave her own mother because she said, “She can’t move on her own.” So she put him on a train with just a plastic bag, a passport, and a phone number written on his hand to contact relatives in Slovakia.
When he got to Slovakia, volunteers gave him food, water, and comfort. “He conquered everyone with his smile, fearlessness, and the determination of a real hero,” said a Slovak Interior Ministry representative.
13. Let’s not forget the astonishing courage of the journalists who put themselves in terrifying and dangerous situations so that the world will know the truth. Watch the incredible video of a harrowing ambush on a group of journalists.
There is no reconciling or making sense of the awfulness unfolding in Ukraine. But we can follow the advice of Desmond Tutu, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Praying for peace.
Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness? Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.
Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it? Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $500 and let us help you spread kindness.