Poles, without any hesitation, opened not only their hearts but also their homes. In the first 11 days of the Russian attack on Ukraine, over 950,000 refugees entered the country through the Polish border.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church also offered its help. The community of about 6,000 in Poland has prepared over 1,200 places in church properties and private homes. So far, almost 400 people have benefited from the assistance.
Adventist relief organizations are also involved. ADRA Poland (the national chapter of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency) volunteers visited several border and reception crossings. They handed out parcels and organized accommodation while learning about the most urgent needs of people fleeing the war. ADRA has also started preparing "Start Packages," a set of basic personal hygiene items for people crossing the border. Furthermore, it is involved in humanitarian transport to Ukraine.
The Christian Charity Service Blisko Serca (“Close to the Heart”) has allocated two of its centers to receive refugees from Ukraine. Both "Orion" in Wisła and "Polubie" in Zatonie (near Drawsko Pomorskie) are ready to host over 70 people in total.
The College of Theology and Humanities in Podkowa Leśna has already welcomed over 30 people. Further buildings and premises are planned to be made available to increase the number of people who can find shelter. A kindergarten for refugee children will be opened on campus in the coming days, operated by volunteers from the local church.
The youth are also active. The Adventist Scouting Association (ZHA) and Pathfinders host organized charity collections all over Poland. The response was huge. Sleeping bags, sleeping mats, blankets, pillows, duvets, hygiene products, long-term food, flashlights, batteries, diapers, medicines, medical aids, and heating stoves are already on their way. The donations were sent to the western part of Ukraine, to where the inhabitants of the eastern part of the country are currently migrating.
Pastor Ryszard Jankowski, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poland, also visited the border. Together with Pastor Tomasz Żelazko, they visited one of the border crossings, and on their way back to Warsaw, they offered a lift to a group of refugees.
It is impossible to describe the scale of activities that are carried out, not only by the Adventist Church through its institutions, but above all, by individual members of the community and local churches. Many local churches have paused organizing Sabbath services while their premises currently serve as accommodation. A lot of people not only sacrifice their finances but, most of all, open their own homes and welcome those in need.
After nine days of war in Ukraine, over 1 million refugees have already fled the country, and almost 650,000 of them came to Poland. The numbers are growing every day. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirms this is the largest exodus of this century.