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Where, how to safely donate to Ukraine amid warnings of fundraising scams

Posted at 11:57 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 23:57:37-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Olga Anatova is one of the thousands of Ukrainians who have fled the war-torn country with family last week amid a Russian invasion, but there are still millions left behind.

“Several times a day, the sirens are going on because of the possible threat of bombing,” Anatova said, recalling her experience. “So people need to stay near a bomb shelter in order to be covered, to be safe from the bombs and missiles.”

The United Nations predicts that upwards of 12 million people within the country may require humanitarian aid over the coming months and that more than 4 million may end up fleeing the country.

“They might need some kind of humanitarian aid very soon. Because they're running out of supplies like food and medicine and diapers. All things for daily needs” said Anatova.

The need is great, but the Better Business Bureau urges caution when donating to the cause.

“Anytime that there's a cause for relief efforts, it can create an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of people's generous hearts,” said Jennifer Adamany, communications manager for the BBB serving Central Indiana.

“It makes me angry, and I think it makes God angry when people take advantage of situations like this for their own benefit,” said Steve Boles, executive director for Mission To Ukraine, a Noblesville-based nonprofit

The organization has been active for 25 years and runs a school for children with disabilities within the border of the country. Anatova teaches at the school there.

Boles said the best way to help is to donate to a group you know and trust, including your church, a family you know or an organization you’ve worked with before.

“The people will need help, not for the next few days, but for weeks or even years,” said Boles.

The BBB also recommends going to larger organizations that have boots on the ground right now. That way your money can make the most impact as soon as possible.

“Local drives to collect clothing and food may not be as practical as relief organizations that are better equipped to get those services out there easily,” said Adamany.

Anatova said she feels the outpouring of love from around the world and is grateful.

“I feel very blessed and satisfied and happy that people are showing their compassion and their love and care,” she said.

For a list of organizations that can help Ukrainians, and what they do, click here.