Crisis mounts as local non-profit sees influx of volunteers
By JO EARLY
For one Amarillo College student, watching news coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has hit close to home. Shawn McCrea, a graphic design major, lived in Ukraine in 2013 and 2014, and has had little sleep since news broke of intense artillery barrages along the Russia-Ukraine border.
“It hurts me to see Ukraine suffer like this. Ukraine is a second home to me,” McCrea said.
McCrea spent 18 months in Ukraine doing outreach and volunteer work and has followed the conflict between Ukrainians and Russian-backed separatists ever since then. “For eight years now, it’s been in the back of people’s minds. It’s sad to see that it’s happening. This is actually happening,” McCrea said.
The multipronged attack began Feb. 23 with more than 150,000 troops crossing into the country from three sides, according to US and Ukrainian intelligence officials. Hours later, President Biden announced new sanctions against Russia in an address from the White House, promising that the attack would “end up costing Russia dearly, economically and strategically.”
“A coalition has been built in support of slapping economic sanctions on Russian companies, energy and banks,” Aaron Faver, an AC social sciences professor, said. “Sanctions are a valuable retaliatory penalty for actions that are condemned, but it is unclear at the moment how well-prepared Russia is, as a whole, to maintain public support for the effort as the sanctions begin to diminish the Russian economy.”
In a televised address Feb. 24, Russian president Vladimir Putin argued that NATO member countries were planning to use Ukraine as an entry point to attack Russia. He again framed the 2014 Ukrainian uprising as a coup, and restated allegations that the Kyiv regime is committing genocide against the Russian-backed separatists that control parts of eastern Ukraine.
Glenda Moore is the operations director for an Amarillo nonprofit business called Kind House Ukrainian Bakery, which she established in 2016. The donations the bakery raises provide necessities to those living in the war zone of Ukraine. The bakery also sends financial support and fosters relationships with Ukrainian orphans, according to its website.
Moore said many in Ukraine are currently fleeing the violence. “Most people are there trying to decide whether they’re going to hunker down in their city or get in their cars and drive to a place that they think might be safer. People are panicking and they’re terrified.”
The nonprofit director said, along with money, she has been trying to provide emotional support to her friends in Ukraine.
“These kids that I’ve been talking to on the phone, they’re in shock. We’ve been talking them through staying close to
somebody, talking them through the night and getting them to understand that somebody on the other side of the world is there. We’re here for them. And what else can we do?”
Kind House Bakery is located at 2100 SW 60th Ave. To schedule a time to volunteer, call Glenda Moore at 806-220-8115. More information is available on their website, kindhousebakery.org.