“We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow,” he continued. “Every dollar we get in is going right out. People are in their homes, in the dark, in the cold with no running water. It is an acute situation, and every dollar we get is crucial.”

According to Wolman, the OU has focused its efforts on raising funds to purchase generators as they were the “No. 1” priority. The generators, which only power a small area, cost between $10,000 to $25,000 each. So far, he said, the OU has raised enough funds to purchase generators for 16 communities, and the goal is to have them in place by December.

The OU has also sourced clothing from Turkey that it intends to purchase for residents in Ukraine. “We are hoping to get that for upward of 5,000 people to start. We hope to have that in the next week or two,” said Wolman.

In addition to the donated goods, GIFT also received financial donations, using them to purchase other much-needed items, including even more blankets, flashlights and batteries.

The need for these items is dire because of attacks on Ukraine’s electrical grids and infrastructure. Fundraising challenges exist because donors have been asked to give financially to help Ukraine before—particularly in the early days of the crisis when millions in aid was raised—even though the winter presents its own set of challenges.

Wolman noted that he was inspired by remarks made by former Israeli Knesset member, Jewish Agency head, and former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who said in the early days of the situation that “as a child in Ukraine, having the word ‘Jew’ in your passport was a sign that you weren’t equal to others. But during the crisis, the word indicated there are people outside of the country who care and want to help you.”

Donations to help the Jews of Ukraine can be made at the JRNU website here.