Supplies – 11.05.2023

For the past few weeks Kherson has been under an artillery barrage with rockets hitting many areas of the city. Over the weekend (06.05-07.05) the first complete lockdown was imposed for civilians. Though life continues in the city, for residents of Kherson at this moment it is probably the most dangerous that it has been from the risk of getting caught in a military action. In addition there have been neighbourhood blackouts of electricity and connectivity.

All this means that it is more important than ever to keep the vulnerable people who rely on us supplied with all the essentials, so that they can survive even when they lose communication channels and so that they can stay at home when the shooting is heavy.

We have been delivering:

medical supplies, matching the exact needs of the hospitals with supplies gathered in Germany

medical supplies for individuals. Stresses of living under heavy bombardment are unsurprisingly also compounding many pre-existing health problems, as well as the difficulty which there is in finding many needed medicines within the city

water to a village. Villages are the most cut-off from aid and supplies since they can be difficult to reach with poorly paved roads and now also mines in much of the countryside. A number of the people we help are located in villages and through contacts in the local community we managed to supply one village with a water-purifier so that they are now self-sufficient with their water supply. This is doubly important since a lot of local infrastructure is being hit in the bombings and given the scale of the damage repairs to this take time.

Please donate to help us helping people in Kherson city and surrounding villages.

Kherson  – One year – 19.03.2023

March 1st marked a full year of our Kherson initiative. In these 12 months we’ve directly supported 863 people with food and money, sponsored over 7,000 hot meals, supplied medicine and helped people through medical emergencies, funded repair of damaged homes, aided evacuation, prepared bomb shelters, and much more.

People in Kherson have and continue to experience every horrific aspect of war; street fighting, occupation, repressions, loss of income, loss of basic amenities (water, electricity, communication) and now a constant daily bombardment of residential areas.

Over the last year government subsidies to vulnerable people (pensions, childcare) were often either insufficient to pay heightened costs as the price of basic foods went up 300%, to cover evacuation costs, or stopped completely.

Kherson Help and other small aid initiatives have been at times the only source of help available. We have been able to help because of donations given us by people from the UK, Germany, Australia, the USA, Czechia, and many other countries. This help has saved the lives of many people in Kherson. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated, and we ask you to please keep supporting the people suffering from war in Ukraine.

Kherson – Christmas Update!

Enormous thank you to everybody who donated to us this Christmas! The fundraiser nearly doubled the €2000 which we were initially aiming for, and absolutely none of this will go to waste.

We sent out the extra payments to individuals with children a little ahead of Christmas itself so that they could use the money in time. At this point you had already helped us raise more than our target. For everyone else we have sent it alongside their regular payment around Christmas Day.

Exceeding the target means that we are able to send more money also in January. This will help people with the extra costs which we all face in the winter.

Thank you once again for your help! Although we’ve now closed this fundraiser we are continuing to help people and your donations continue to be needed.

Please share our project and keep helping us to help vulnerable people in Kherson:

Kherson – Christmas

We’re working to raise additional money for Christmas.

There are ~250 people who currently get money from us on an ongoing basis and directly (every 10 days and not via other volunteer groups). The idea is to send each person an extra €8 at Christmas.

It’s not crazy but it’s enough to buy a good amount of food to cook with on Christmas day, some sweets for the children, and maybe help cover some extra costs which come with winter.

We’re already 1/4 of the way there! Please help us reach our target and do something nice for people who deserve a Christmas present.

Chefs against war – 03.12.22

The largest volunteer group which we support is Chefs in Club. This is a collective which existed before the war and is headed by local chef Oleksii Aleksandrov. Since the start of the occupation they have been distributing thousands of meals per week to people suffering extreme hardship in Kherson.

The initiative is very large, distributing thousands of meals per week, and until last week they were mostly funded by the World Central Kitchen. We have been providing only one part of the funding for this group.

Last week we were told that World Central Kitchen would discontinue funding Chefs in Club.

World Central Kitchen’s policy is not to work with 3rd party initiatives in places they can access themselves – Kherson is now accessible. However Chefs in Club is already well-established and many people rely on them. They are also starting to go out to villages which are not receiving enough of the aid which arrives in Kherson city.
They now need to find new source of funding for several thousand euros per month. Please reach out to us if you know of any possible funding sources which we can pass on, and any donations to KhersonHelp marked for Chefs in Club will be passed on to this initiative.

Chefs in Club – Brief history
During the occupation Chefs in Club often fed hospital patients. Many hospitals were not able to supply patients with enough to eat.

As Kherson remained under occupation volunteers were increasingly hunted and vulnerable. This collective took enormous risk by continuing to help people openly. Partway through the occupation they were forced out of their base in the city (the Muscat). They continued to work.

On the 12th of November, the day after Kherson was liberated, they moved back in.

Oleksii Aleksandrov wrote the following:

“On the way back to Muscat.

Exactly, back to where it all began. Because, from Kherson, the chefs_in_club team didn’t leave anywhere.

It all started on the 25th. Then Игорь Козлов asked to feed 20 ambulance doctors on Belinsky. On February 27, there were 160 servings. Next – and 300, and 700, and more…

Medics were “joined” by victims from the suburbs where the orcs [russian soldiers] passed in the first days. People were settled in hostels and bomb storage. We cooked from what we could get, what was brought by restaurateurs, individual people and indifferent entrepreneurs.

Time was running out. The repression has intensified. New owners came to Мускат and put us in the yard. Next were other restaurants that did not work, hotel kitchens. But, we had to cook in front of the orcs. Straight up. We even cooked food in the kitchen of the regional hospital under the close observation of the “Russian world”. And delivered to hostels and villages along the route Ірина Мєзєнцева . Next are a few more kitchens, even in our own apartments and offices. But only to keep the opportunity to feed those left without homes and kitchens. And all this thanks to World Central Kitchen ! Yes, all this time we have been cooking for WCK. So grateful to José Andrés and team.

Today we return to Мускат and it’s very symbolic. And many thanks to our team Екатерина Шостак , Ірина Мєзєнцева , Саша Слободянюк, Александр Шостак , Максим Брянский ,Сергей Пантак .

To be continued. But in a different format! Thanks to Юрій Палічев for unlimited support!”

You can follow the Chefs in Club on Instagram where they frequently post about their work.

Kherson – October

It’s impossible to tell all the stories from people living in Kherson at this time. There are different hardships in the city of Kherson now that it is liberated. And in many villages on the left bank, where the Russian army have withdrawn. But before we start telling you about those, here are a few final stories from the last months of the occupation of the entire territory.

Selling everything

Yana lives in a village on the bank of the Dnieper. She has 4 children and looks after her sick father.

We saw her plea for help on a social site begging for any kind of work, even though she is just recovering from having given birth in August.

From multiple posts on her facebook it was clear that she had already sold everything she could, from a TV set and computer, to potted plants and clothes.

“Dear members of the group, I kindly ask you not to pass by my post 🙏🙏🙏🙏 there are a lot of people in the group, don’t you have friends in —– who left, tell them about me!!!! I’m not asking for myself, but for my children who need to be fed (you know the prices are cosmic) I’m not begging for free stuff, I’m just asking for any help in finding any part-time job 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 I’m ready to work, I’m not afraid of work!!!!”

We are now supporting her with money to buy food for her children.

Sole breadwinner

Yulia has two children and is also looking after two sick elderly people: her father (type 2 diabetes) and her grandmother (87 years old, bed-bound because of a broken hip).

The war stopped the pensioners from receiving pensions and Yulia lost her job. She is constantly looking for work but so far only managed to get a part-time job which is not enough to support the family.

The family is receiving a regular payment of 1,200 hryvna (=£29.22) from us every 10 days. Their latest shopping:

  1. 1 kg of sugar: 50 hr
  2. 10 kg of potato: 150 hr
  3. Carrots and cabbage: 43 hr
  4. 1 kg chicken meat: 265 hr
  5. 30 nappies: 700 hr

Luba – her flowers survived

Luba and her husband, in their 50s, had to flee their war-torn
village. They are receiving £15 every 10 days from us to help them
buy food and medicines.

Luba wrote to us:

“War is a terrible thing. Now for 8 months we’ve been moving from place to place, never a corner of our own. It’s scary and painful.

We went to see our village in October – but we can’t live there: it’s still being bombed. No water, gas or electricity. Very cold and dangerous.

Soldiers lived in our house and took everything: boiler, washing machine, fridges, even our gas oven and sofas. Took our car. Painted our windows black. Devastation. We just mended the roof – and it got hit again. The summer kitchen was hit directly.

But guess what: my flowers HAVE SURVIVED!!”

Please donate so that we can keep helping.


🍉🍉 Kherson is liberated!!! 🍉🍉

Thank you so much all for every bit of support you have given to us and to the people of Kherson!
Every single cent and penny you have given has helped to lead to this. Every time you thought, read, talked about and donated to people in Kherson, you have helped them to live through these last nine months, when they wouldn’t have survived without it. The occupation has been horrific, but it was a little less horrific because you helped.

What happens next?

So for the time-being we’re going to continue sending food and money to the vulnerable people there who need it. The battle is won but the war isn’t over. Please keep donating, to us and to other trustworthy organisations helping people in Ukraine.

Another very positive change is that we should now be able to work without fearing for the safety of our volunteers and the people receiving help. The situation in Kherson was becoming more and more brutal over the past months and volunteers were being hunted and stopped. We did everything we could to minimise the visibility of both those giving and receiving help. We are really happy that we can now be open about the work our volunteers are doing.

The occupation of Kherson and the west bank of the Dnieper is over. The majority of the people we’re supporting are here. It’s a huge relief, but the damage that’s been done to people there won’t be fixed overnight. At the moment, because of the amount of mines around the city, the Ukrainian government is officially warning people against attempting to enter or leave.
There are a number of things which people believe are likely to happen next for the city, some are optimistic and some not, but in every case life in Kherson will continue to be hard for the ordinary people there. We’ll keep doing all we can!

P.S. continuing to blur faces for the moment before we make sure of where everyone is – the connectivity in Kherson Region was almost entirely blocked for the past week, but we were still able to send money for food – but hopefully soon this can stop!

Evacuation – 15.10.2022

In September we helped to Olga, a mother with 3 children, to evacuate her family from Kherson. Russian troops had been stationed right next to their house and eventually this station was hit. At this point the family was scared enough for Olga to ask us to help her with the costs of taking her children out of the war zone.

Many people in the bus cried from happiness, when we reached the unoccupied territory. We are so grateful to you! There’s a feeling of freedom – but it will take us some time to recover from months of living under occupation.”
– Olga

(Since Olga and her family have reached safety, for once we don’t have to redact faces in the images!)

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Volunteer groups – 24.09.2022

As we’ve written before (Kherson – 03.08.2022), international aid organisations do not have access to Kherson. Vulnerable people are reliant on help from local volunteers.

These volunteers need money to be able to distribute food. We’re currently funding 4 other groups which take care of handing out food for (at last count) 185 people.
In August we started working with a group who are looking after 55 people in need. They bulk-buy and then give out the food bags in the pictures.

Since almost the start of the war we have been helping to finance a project run by a collective of cooks in Kherson. For all these months they have been preparing and distributing meals for patients hospitalised in Kherson and for members of the ambulance service.

Theirs is a large initiative and as such we are only one of their funding sources. However it’s a necessary (and worthwhile) contribution since, like us, they need all the money they can get in order to keep going.

Unfortunately the number of people in Kherson hospitals who need free meals at the moment is steadily. In July we covered the cost of ~460 meals, in August it was ~480.

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Some normality – 24.09.2022

We are reliant on continuously raising money in order to keep helping vulnerable people in the Kherson region. The number of people needing help in Kherson is enormous, so our absolute priority is to provide enough for each recipient to have essential foodstuff.

However occasionally we’ve been happy to provide also a small bit of normality, especially for children suffering as a result of the invasion. Children in Kherson are growing up to the sound of guns and almost complete deprivation of many things that we consider essential to a healthy childhood. It’s hard to imagine the mental impact of what is happening on children* in Ukraine.

Marina is a mother single-handedly looking after two children and her own mother, who is elderly and bed-bound.
With the start of the war Marina lost her job. Her village is on the front line of the fighting in the Kherson region. She has been receiving money from us to cover the cost of food.

Marina’s little girl turned 8 last month and thanks to the money we’ve received and passed on to her, they were able to bake a cake for her birthday.

She asked us to pass on her thank you to everyone who has made it possible for them to keep living through these last months. And an invitation:

“Please come to see us after the war, and we’ll bake an even better cake for you!”

– Marina

From us also, thank you so much, everyone who has sent money to Kherson Help, for every penny. You’re making life possible and bearable for so many people for whom it wouldn’t be otherwise. Come visit us after the war! You’ll always be welcome in Kherson.

*and adults

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Family Orphanages – 21.08.2022

There are three family orphanages, a total of 24 children, to whom we are giving continuous financial help. One of the children is newly orphaned, their parents died in the first days of the war.

Another of the orphanages has also suffered a lot recently even aside from their financial needs. The children had been taken in by an elderly couple, and last year the husband died. At around the same time, they were suddenly unable to stay any longer in the house that they had previously made their home. At the start of the war the children and elderly lady were given accommodation in a hotel in Kherson, and were paying for being able to live there by cleaning the floors there.

Prices of essential products and food in Kherson rose by 300% at the start of the invasion. The individuals who have set up these orphanages are simply unable to pay to feed the children they are looking after. Prices in the city have fallen in more recent months, but the lack of financial support for these children from official administration means they still need our help.

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Kherson – 15.08.2022

In early July the Ukrainian government warned civilians to evacuate Kherson. Now increasingly more rockets are targeting the area and fighting is escalating.
Many people have left, but the people who are unable to leave are exactly those who are the most vulnerable. Elderly people, people with special care needs, adults caring for children (single parents, orphanages). They’re not able to make the several-day journey through multiple guard-posts, in the boiling summer heat, in order to maybe reach uncertain safety in some uncertain place.

We’ve been sending food and money since March to people in Kherson who were previously receiving social support or are unable to provide for themselves. We’re now helping over 600 vulnerable people to 1) eat 2) stock up on food and livestock 3) in a few cases, make repairs where rockets have hit and to prepare and stock bomb shelters so that they can be safe as the fighting intensifies.

Please help us to keep giving vulnerable people in Kherson the help they need.

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Kherson – 03.08.2022

On June 30th the UN made a statement about aid access within Ukraine and to Kherson:

aid access is still too dangerous in many places.
“We could not deliver relief supplies or access Kherson,”

We need to keep receiving your donations so that we are able to support these people where larger aid organisations are currently unable to reach.
Meanwhile the number of people who are asking for our help in the Kherson region is constantly growing. Over the last few months this has increased from:

  • 311 individuals in June
  • 460 individuals in July
  • 642 individuals right now*

*this doesn’t include the cooks’ initiative which we are supporting (the number of individual meals that we funded for them last month was 478)

Thank you very much for all your donations so far and please continue to help us bringing this help where it is needed.

Kherson Oblast – 27.07.2022

One single mother whom we are helping suffers from epilepsy, she and her three children are living in a front-line village. It’s not possible to find work, however the whole family are providing for themselves by working their small piece of land. Rather than receiving a handout to buy food, they have asked us to help them to buy rabbits and chickens so that they can become even more self-reliant.

We are trying as much as possible to give people the resources that they need to take care of themselves. This is more sustainable in the long-term and also especially important in the wider region where there is a lot of active fighting. Internet and telephone connection has been repeatedly cut off even for the city of Kherson itself. In the wider region it is even harder to maintain a regular connection, sometimes this drops for weeks and we can’t be confident that we can send them weekly money to buy foodstuff.

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Galina – 01.07.2022

Every person who gets help from us has their own story. We will write about some of the people who receive the donations you give us.

Galina fled her village because of the fighting in the region and came to Kherson.
She lost the ability to use her legs and has been hospitalised in the city. Because of the chaos and all the current difficulties with communication in the region she has not even been able to contact her relatives to let them know where and how she is.

Like many people, she so far isn’t able to receive her pension.

One of our volunteers was able to buy food and medicines for Galina (both of which are not always available in hospitals for free right now). They said:

“Galina cried and asked to thank you for your help and your kind hearts”

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Kherson – 14.06.2022

Kherson is on the front line of the war in Ukraine. Since it was taken in early March, many people who previously lived on support from the government no longer receive anything.
In the heat of the summer, pensioners are spending many hours in queues just to register for new subsidies which have been promised and which they need in order to survive.

With the front line a few kilometres to the West and the Dnieper to the East, there is no way for international organisations to transport humanitarian aid into the region. Those people who need and manage to get help rely almost entirely on a few small initiatives such as ours which are still operating in the city.

While operating in Kherson is extremely difficult, this is exactly the time when people need the most help:

  • supplies which people might have had are running out
  • official support is often not there and when it is, it’s unreliable
  • many people have lost their jobs and it’s almost impossible to find new ones
  • even cash is scarce and exchange rates are sky-high

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