I recently was privileged to have the opportunity to participate in the JDC Moldova Fly-In with the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). JDC is the leading Jewish humanitarian organization doing work in more than 70 countries.

Given my love for our partner city Odesa, and as one of The Associated’s Baltimore-Odesa Partnership Ambassadors, I felt the need to see firsthand what was going on in this part of the world and how the war was affecting my dear friends from Odesa and throughout Ukraine. 

Well, to say the least, it was quite sobering.

I met with a family living in a run-down, 5th floor walk-up apartment provided to them by JDC.  Thankfully, they were safe and out of harm’s way – but they were scared and fearful of what would happen to them in the future. The mother, two sons and mother-in-law journeyed out of Odesa by bus since they didn’t have transportation of their own. They carried with them three suitcases – that was it. They crossed the border into Moldova not knowing anyone, not knowing where they would stay and with very little money to pay for food and basic necessities. 

The husband, a car mechanic, had to stay back in Odesa as was required. He was desperately looking for work so he could send them money – but work has been impossible to find. It was gut wrenching listening to the mother tell their story. That said, she hugged us and said how thankful she was for our help as tears streamed down her face. 

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