COLORADO SPRINGS — A local organization — Slavic Christian Ministries — began in 2001, starting as a way to work with people in Ukraine.

“We have worked with orphans and disabled children, people in drug rehab, we’ve worked with a lot of churches teaching the Bible, we’ve worked with refugees from the war in 2014,” said Ron Putnam, president of Slavic Christian Ministries.

Aftermath of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. Credit: Kateryna V Putnam

All of that came to a screeching halt when Russia invaded Ukraine. Immediately, concerns for people in the country and the people working for their ministry became top priority.

“We’re very scared for the people, we’re very concerned for the people. It’s not just our employees but we have a lot of friends over there, we have a lot of family over there. My wife is from Ukraine.”

But then it quickly became clear that the need was greater, and more personal.

View from a destroyed home. Credit: Kateryna V Putnam

“In our city of Kharkviv which is the second largest city in Ukraine with about 1.5 million people… the Russian military’s already destroyed about 700 buildings. And there’s already been about 500 civilian deaths,” Putnam said.

Once the ministry was assured their employees were comfortable to hit the ground running, they changed their strategy.

“As of three weeks ago when this war started, the board got together and decided that from this day forward we’re just going to engage in humanitarian aid and help the war refugees,” Putnam said.

So far, they have already made an impact.

Buildings and rubble is all that’s left in some areas of Ukraine. Credit: Kateryna V Putnam

“Right now I’d say that our ministry is helping feed about three-thousand people.”

But, unfortunately that’s still just a drop in the bucket compared to how many people are currently in need, which is leaving outreach efforts overwhelmed.

“It’s still a humanitarian catastrophe. I was in a meeting with 35 other ministries earlier this week and they’re all overwhelmed and they’re just trying to do the best they can,” Putnam said.

Putnam added he’s confident in the people of Ukraine to push back against Russian opposition, but in the meantime he said they are still doing everything they can to continue getting food, water and medicine to those affected.