From budget amendments to rallies, Seattle has been quick to show support for those fleeing the war in Ukraine. In a bipartisan effort at the end of February, Washington state legislators voted to amend their proposed budget, setting aside $19 million to support Ukrainian refugees who may settle in Washington state in the coming months.

The preparations show support for and a commitment to Ukraine. In a city and state long hailed as a welcoming safe haven for those escaping conflict—like the one in Afghanistan—Seattleites hoping to lend a hand now can get involved with these local organizations.

International Rescue Committee Seattle

While the IRC does not have a specific Ukraine fund, donations bolster its efforts on the ground in Poland, aiding displaced children and families, as well as responding to crises in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and other countries. The organization welcomes volunteer time (current needs are in tech, finance, education, health care, and more) and in-kind donations to support recent arrivals from all over the globe.

Lutheran Community Services Northwest

The Refugee Response initiative at Lutheran Community Services Northwest helps resettle refugees, including the most recent wave still arriving from Afghanistan and, soon, Ukraine. They offer personal support to those resettling in the region, from airport pickup to employment, education, health care, and housing. LCS welcomes volunteers and donations.

Ukrainian Association of Washington State

The UAWS’s current priorities are delivering medical supplies to Ukrainian hospitals, providing civilian defense units with body armor, helping displaced families and orphans, and supporting civilians with life-saving tactical medicine. The organization is also responsible for several rallies in Seattle against the war, with any upcoming events shared on its Facebook page.

Image: Jane Sherman

Ukrainian Community Center of Washington

This grassroots organization was founded in 1998 by Washington’s Ukrainian population, hoping to provide mutual aid to Eastern European refugees and immigrants predominantly from the former Soviet Union. In “normal” times, UCCW's programs aid newcomers in overcoming language, cultural, educational, and social barriers. The group is currently working with mayor Bruce Harrell’s office to identify ways to get necessary supplies to Ukraine. 

Ukraine Take Shelter

Mercer Island High School graduate and current Harvard student Avi Schiffmann—who rose to fame in the early days of the pandemic for his Covid tracker—along with Harvard classmate Marco Burstein, created this online bulletin, where refugees can contact ordinary folks who list their homes as being available for temporary housing. While it won’t help much in the short-term, Seattleites can list their extra rooms now so refugees can get in touch when they arrive in the Puget Sound area. Schiffmann and Burstein are looking for volunteers who can help translate (Romanian, anyone?) housing requests and offers as refugees pour into Poland and surrounding countries.

World Relief Seattle

This Christian humanitarian organization with local offices in King and Whatcom counties helps those fleeing poverty, disasters, oppression, and war. In the past 18 years, it has helped resettle 13,000 Ukrainians, with the hopes of renewing that focus soon as refugees arrive in Washington state. 

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