It was the iconic Fred Rogers that told us, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
At Good Good Good, we’ve made that the foundation of our work — to know that even in times of extreme hardship, there are always people looking to do good in the world, people ready to receive the good, and most of us at the intersection of taking action.
This past year has been another “unprecedented” year (ugh), full of overwhelming challenges and large-scale catastrophes. But what keeps us moving forward, what keeps us afloat amidst so many unknowns, is the potential to respond, problem-solve, and care for one another.
2022 ushered in violence and fear — threats to healthcare (the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade), ongoing climate change (climate disasters rocked areas across the globe), political unrest (Russia invaded Ukraine and continues to inflict unrivaled human rights violations) — and so much more.
But in these heartbreaking moments, we cling to hope. We must.
From entertainers using their platforms to help others, and protesters and activists fundraising and speaking out to change the future, to community members providing necessities to their neighbors at war, or leaders fighting to end gun violence — this issue celebrates just a tiny amount of the work at the center of it all.
What we love most about sharing and celebrating good news is that it’s messy and real; it’s full of hope, failure, triumph, and resilience. It helps us step into a new day with the unwavering belief that things do get better.
And it’s helpers like these that solidify this hope. As we step into another year navigating these unparalleled trials — and the enduring humanity that accompanies them — we look to them.
Every year we highlight helpers in a number of categories — and this year we’ve chosen these categories:
- Education Helpers
- LGBTQ+ Helpers
- Art & Media Helpers
- Healthcare Helpers
- Ukraine Helpers
- Gun Safety Helpers
- Climate Helpers
- Equality and Justice Helpers
- Community Helpers
In this post, we’re highlighting Ukraine Helpers and simple ways to make a difference:
Ukraine Helpers To Know —
The People of Ukraine
When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Ukrainians mobilized in droves to help one another.
While there is no possible way to recount every small action of community care within and beyond Ukraine’s borders, one thing is certain: Ukrainians continue to balance the responsibility of helping others and the need to be helped.
Whether it’s the thousands of Ukrainian Etsy sellers fundraising through their art, housing nonprofits creating scrappy solutions for displaced citizens, teachers taking up arms, independent journalists reporting at war, civilians telling their stories on TikTok, or even local animal shelters caring for pets that have been left behind — the simultaneous grit and compassion of Ukrainians is to be applauded and uplifted for years to come.
Olga Boichak, a digital war scholar in Australia told the Washington Post: “In a way, militaries have lost that dominance in framing the war, and right now the civilians are largely determining how these events will go down in history.”
Chef José Andrés
Chef José Andrés is no stranger to using food for good. The Spanish chef’s nonprofit World Central Kitchen (WCK) has mobilized as immediately as any other first responder to crises from Australian wildfires, to COVID-19.
This past year, Andrés and the WCK team had pots and pans on the ground in Ukraine, serving free hot meals to refugees within 24 hours of the Russian invasion in February, at first along the Ukraine-Poland border.
Since then, WCK has served over 150 million meals all over the country to anyone in need. Even with the threat of violence overhead, WCK — and Andrés — refuse to get out of the kitchen.
“We have 550 restaurants and thousands of chefs here in Ukraine, and we’ve served over 600,000 [daily] meals,” Andrés told Food & Wine Magazine.
“Sometimes life requires these moments where I’m using food in another way. This opportunity helped me realize I can engage restaurants and chefs and food in another role and fulfill my maximum possibility.”
Read some of José Andrés’ most inspiring quotes
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
In a time of dire crisis, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been a beacon of inspiring leadership.
When Russia invaded the 44-year-old head of state’s country, his unfailing allegiance to his people made headlines.
He swapped a suit and tie for T-shirts and slacks, turned down President Biden’s offer to evacuate (he said “I need ammunition, not a ride”), and has presented emotion, candor, or passion in his remarks — a stark contrast to most historical figures desperate to maintain decorum at times like these.
While it is certainly not easy to be a country’s leader during war, and Zelenskyy has and will make mistakes, his character and determination have a ripple effect on all Ukrainians, as civilians stay and fight and volunteers travel to Ukraine to lend a hand with wartime aid.
“I am here. We are not putting down arms,” he said in a video at the start of Russia's invasion. “That is it. That’s all I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine.”
3 Ways To Help Ukrainians During Wartime:
- Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in Ukraine. There are countless issues to follow in the news, but it is vital that we do not turn away from this war. Check out kyivindependent.com for news directly from Ukrainian journalists.
- Donate to nonprofits supporting Ukrainians! While massive global organizations are doing important work, we urge you to support local grassroots initiatives in Ukraine that need urgent donations. Start with moveukraine.org or vostok-sos.org.
- Continue to be vocal about the war and share new, trusted information in your networks. Join a peace protest. Encourage your employer to match donations. Take action.