Hancock native working in Moldova providing direct aid to Ukrainian refugees
Amy McQuade is working directly with The Friends of Moldova NGO (non-governmental agency)
HANCOCK, Maine (WABI) - We’ve done several stories now about Mainers collecting donations and supplies for Ukrainian refugees.
A woman from Hancock, Maine is among them, but her story hits closer to home.
Joy Hollowell explains.
“We’ve seen about 300,000 Ukrainian refugees enter Moldova, and half of them have stayed.
Amy McQuade works for US Aid. It’s a government agency providing humanitarian relief overseas. The Ellsworth High School graduate is currently posted in Moldova, which borders Ukraine.
“Moldova reminds me of a Downeast, Maine kind of feel because it’s like agriculture, small town sort of feel. People are super generous and nice to one another,” says McQuade.
This small country is now inundated with predominantly Ukrainian mothers and their children- forced to leave behind their homes, lives, and in many cases, husbands and fathers that under Ukrainian law, must stay to fight.
“People are walking around shell shocked,” says McQuade. “If you are at the border, you’re seeing kids crying out for their dads, which is terrible. People are confused. They are clearly in a bad situation.”
They come, says McQuade, with just a few days worth of clothes, food, and other supplies.
“You are seeing men driving their kids and their wives to the border and dropping them off,” says McQuade. “And so they are walking across the border by themselves. The kids you’re seeing are anywhere between newborns to 12, 14 year old kids.”
Many are choosing to stay in Moldova because they speak Russian and Romanian, and it’s so close to Ukraine.
“They didn’t think that many people would stay in Moldova because it is a small, poor country and there would be greater support in the EU which is on the Romanian border.”
But they did stay- schools and churches are now shelters, and about three-quarters of Moldovans have opened their homes to refugees.
Mcquade saw an immediate need that she could help fill in addition to her official capacity as a foreign service officer.
“Primarily what we have been doing is buying food, bedding, clothes, children’s items are huge, so diapers, formula, baby food, hygiene products,” she says. “They really don’t have anything with them.”
McQuade is doing all this through The Friends of Moldova. It’s a non profit, non governmental organization set up by former American members of the Peace Corps who stayed in Moldova. McQuade says she works with the group every day.
“100% of the donations are then able to go toward buying supplies for the refugees,” says McQuade.”
McQuade is donating supplies to both the shelters as well as the Moldovan families taking in refugees.
She says the primary focus of the country right now is to provide transportation to town, for the refugees crossing the border so they’re not waiting outside in the freezing cold.
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