Photo Credit: courtesy, Vine Ventures
Ukrainian child at refugee shelter in Moldova

A New York City-based venture capital firm donated hundreds of mattresses, pillows, blankets, towels, food, and funding for transportation for the thousands of refugees — mostly women, children and the elderly — who are now entering Moldova from Ukraine.

The aid from Vine Ventures initiated by co-founders Eric Reiner and Daniel Povitsky, is being coordinated with the Moldovan Jewish community to equip three refugee centers.


“With thousands of Ukrainians being displaced from their homes due to the conflict, it is inspiring to see good-hearted people working on the frontlines extending a helping hand to those in need,” said Reiner. “Their compassion gives me hope for humanity, and I’m honored to take part in this effort.”

The Jewish Community of the Republic of Moldova (JCRM), JDC Chisinau (Kishinev), JCC KEDEM, and other religious/volunteer-based organizations are also providing assistance. A hotline was established to coordinate the effort, and all refugees – Jews and non-Jews – receive aid with information, temporary accommodations, food, and personal hygiene products.

“As the son of immigrants who fled an oppressive USSR regime to Israel, it is devastating to witness the effects of displacement. That is why I have a deep gratitude for countries, communities, and organizations welcoming those in need with open hearts and minds,” Povitsky said.

Tales of the Refugees
Raisa Alexandrovna and Valery Fridrikhovich, an elderly refugee couple, are now living in the Dacia Marine recreation center-turned-refugee shelter in the coastal town of Vadul lui Voda after they were forced to leave their home in Odessa. Told to be at the bus station on February 28 by 6 am, they brought along only essential documents and clothing.

“Our Jewish community organized transportation from Odessa. We chose to go, knowing that the situation would only get worse if we waited,” Alexandrovna recounted.

“Customs let us through quickly as members of the Jewish community – I am Jewish, my husband is not. As soon as we arrived in Moldova we were given food and clothing. We have a comfortable room with everything we need, live rent-free, and they are taking good care of us. When we have trouble getting to the second floor, they bring food and tea to the room; when it was cold they brought us a heater and more blankets.

“We are waiting for our son-in-law to take us to Canada so we can be with our children and grandchildren. It turns out that are so many good people who are ready to help and share their hearts. It gladdens my heart and feeds my soul to see such people in the world,” she added.

Among the refugees was a family from Kiev who were separated by the war. Two girls, ages 13 and 15, studied at a religious Jewish school in the Ukrainian capital, and their parents lived in a nearby town. Tatyana showed her small handbag and passport, all she managed to take with her in a hurry. “This is all I’m left with,” she repeated, in tears.

“I only had time to grab the most expensive thing to take with me,” said another refugee, a woman who held a repatriation check she received. “I didn’t want to leave, but it was for our safety,” she said, pointing to a small dog. “I’m scared, but I can’t imagine what it’s like for him.”

Moldova now has the largest concentration of refugees per capita, nearly 4,000 per 100,000 residents. Moldovan President Maia Sandu has appealed to the international community for help in dealing with the growing number of refugees streaming into Moldova from Ukraine.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.