My gratitude is beyond measure that we had the chance to help Ukraine with this direct connection. The total of $9,986 dollars was raised & given to Ukraine, which our Sangha & also people with open hearts were able to give. WAR itself is a crime against Humanity! War is caused from Greed, Anger & ignorance……. It is now essential for us to end the Ukraine Fund & return to our vision of the Sonoma Mountain Mandala. We need PEACE more than EVER! The practice of Zen Sitting offers this. When we Sit Upright, all opposites that creates separation are unknowingly dissolved in Sitting. Our endeavor to construct the Sonoma Mountain Mandala is to resolve the Cause & Source of Humanity's Suffering. This was Shakyamuni Buddha’s Proclamation of the Four Noble Truths -- nearly 2,600 years ago……. Again, please listen & give by joining us…………...
Zensan Jakusho 寂照 Kwong, Abbot of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center - Genjoji
Hello, my name is PJ Matheson. I am the daughter of Benja Peterson, who is a friend, supporter, and member of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. Over the last month and a half, I have been communicating with many friends I lived and worked with in Odessa, Lviv, and Kyiv, Ukraine. We have been able to support a group of Ukrainians who have been helping to bring medicines, food, and supplies to cities in need in Ukraine.
With our donations, they have been able to purchase vans to transport these goods as well as transport refugees safely to Poland. We are up to 10 drivers and 7 large vans! The funds we raise go towards providing these brave people with fuel, van repairs (the roads are quite bad, so they need regular maintenance), supplies, clothing, food, water, medicines, and safe places for refugees to sleep as they travel to the border.
No sum is too small. Fundraising can be tedious, but it is so important to keep support coming to these brave, dedicated people who are risking their safety to help bring aid to others.
🇺🇦 Fundraising Update (April 2022) 🇺🇦
💙 The work in Ukraine continues all day, every day. Marcin, a volunteer/organizer in Poland, explained that the problems/needs that these men in the group solve, are a “black hole” – seemingly endless & uses resources quickly. But they remain determined, positive and highly motivated to find more food and supplies to drive back to the demolished areas again the next day. I share with you Bishop Didushck’s report below (run through Google Translate). Please read his words. 🙏
Yesterday they filled three vans at a church building in Poland with donated food, medicine and cakes for Easter. Today they drove them to a neighborhood north of Kyiv that was recently occupied by Russian troops. It is important for us to witness both the tragedy and the hard work to bring relief to these survivors. We are always fundraising so that this much needed work can continue. 💙
Hello, we returned to the temple for the night. We start the most difficult trips here and return here, it supports. We stopped in XXX again, the city is slowly coming to life, but there are many disasters. We took food to volunteers who take care of families with small children, and the disabled, visited a military hospital and gave medicine. Then we went to the most affected places in the XXX region.
People there live almost on the street. The houses are destroyed. It is still cold outside, especially at night. There is still no electricity, water, gas, nothing. They cook food like in the Middle Ages on a fire. We came to such areas just on the streets, and people ran to us to take a festive Easter cupcake and a little other food from our four cars. They took everything they could. Those who came later did not come across much, and it was painful that we did not have more. We also had to leave to go to other streets.
They thanked us and we hugged them all for a long time. When I hugged them, I felt the presence of the Savior so strongly that he accepts and bears their burdens, sorrows, pains and sufferings. I also cried with them from impotence to change something. They thanked us like angels, and we said that this is help from people from Europe and America who know about them, care and pray. I saw that this inspires them very much that people from another world remember them. In the evening with empty cars, we left the city. I couldn’t stop thinking about them and couldn’t help crying over and over again, even as I write this. I love these people and want to always return to them until it gets easier.
I don’t know anything more important than that. I spoke at length with older women and men and asked what their greatest need was. They said
Small gas stoves
Canned meat and fish
Flour, rice, quick pasta
It was important for me to understand how to be ready to help other cities and what reserves everyone should have for the war.
Donations were sent directly wired to the drivers in Poland from PJ's PayPal account. Thank you all so much for your generous support, energy, thoughts, and prayers.