(Jeff Heyman, Photographer)
On March 7 (L-R) Orinda resident Jud Hammon, Vice Mayor Inga Miller, Mayor Dennis Fay and City Councilmember Amy Worth, attended the Lamorinda Solidarity with Ukraine peace vigil at the Lafayette Hillside Memorial. A fitting location, the Memorial was started in 2006 as a place of healing for loved ones and veterans to pay respect to fallen comrades. It not only commemorates individual national service contributions, but also serves as a reminder of the terrible costs of war.

Doing Our Part to Help the Ukrainian People

    It is with a heavy heart that I write about this senseless war waged by Russian President Vladimir Putin against the brave and courageous Ukrainians. Today (as I write this), it is Day 17, and my heart breaks every single day this unwarranted war continues.
    I listen daily to my radio, CNN and MSNBC, and while there have been a few days I’ve had to take a break from the gut-wrenching, hard-to-hear updates, I know in the back of my mind, there is no break for the millions of Ukrainians, many of whom have since fled west to neighboring countries for safety.
    As a journalism teacher, I gave my students an opportunity to voice their thoughts and feelings of what they were/are experiencing. Many have friends, or friends-of-friends, who live in Ukraine. My students expressed pain, anxiety and heartbreak. They spoke of difficulty concentrating and dire thoughts of nuclear war – all the thoughts that I’m sure echo the worries of everyone in the world 
    I’ve also thought of the helplessness felt, a sense of what-can-I-do-to-help and a question about whether it would make a difference.
    Immediately, instead of complaining about the soaring prices at the gas pumps (which was $4.53 at my usual ARCO gas station in Oakley before this war crime started, and today it’s nearing $6.00), I see paying the extra money without complaining as a minor sacrifice if it helps the Ukrainians in some way.
    I also donated to the World Central Kitchen. A hot meal for those displaced makes me feel a bit of relief.
    Founded by Jose Andres in 2010, the World Central Kitchen is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to feeding those in the wake of natural disasters. Here’s the link I used to donate: https://bit.ly/3i3vL9O.
    Another reputable organization is The Rotary Foundation, one of the largest humanitarian non-profits.
    John Germ, trustee chair of The Rotary Foundation, sent out an email communication early March to Rotary International District 5160 in response to the deepening refugee crisis:
    “The Rotary Foundation Trustees have decided to prioritize contributions made to the Disaster Response Fund until April 30 to support disaster response grants for districts affected by these events. These expedited disaster response grants can be used to supply water, food, medicine, shelter and clothing.”
    He added, “Half a million people have fled Ukraine and are in dire need of emergency aid. The United Nations estimates that number of refugees could grow to as many as five million people displaced. Rotary clubs in Europe and around the world have stepped up their relief work, some working on the ground to help displaced families.”
    Here’s the link to the Disaster Relief Fund, https://my.rotary.org/en/disaster-response-fund.
    As of today’s writing, over 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland.
    One more reputable organization – and there are many more – is Catholic Relief Services, and here’s its link: https://bit.ly/3I8KE5n.
    Sometimes it’s difficult to know which organization to trust. My advice is to do the research and talk to others you know and trust.
    I believe in prayer too. Praying for peace and solidarity, staying updated through reputable news outlets, finding ways to help and continued research – all of this helps, in my humble opinion.

Charleen Earley can be reached at editor@theorindanews.com.

(Charleen Earley, Phtographer)
With significant and vetted data, wearing a mask is the healthiest thing to do, when it comes to the safety of our communities in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and its Delta variant.