BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Friday marks one year since the Russian invasion began in Ukraine. Since the start of the war, an organization with ties to Birmingham has been able to fundraise nearly $2 million to continue to send support to the war-torn country.

Over the last year, The Outreach Foundation has helped to connect resources worldwide to provide relief to Ukraine. The Rev. Tom Boone, The Outreach Foundation’s associate director for mission, has taken four groups with him since the start of the war to provide food, medicine and emotional support for victims of the war in Ukraine.

“From day one, people in Ukraine were asking what can we do? We help you answer that question and the way we do that is by working through the church that is established, that has a long history and is trusted,” Boone said. “We load up as much stuff as we can get, or we buy things over there and we hand deliver it to the friends.”

Within a week of the start of the war, The Outreach Foundation established a connection to the Rev. Evan Rusyn, a religious leader from Kyiv. He visited Birmingham earlier this month at South Highland Presbyterian Church.

“We realize there is no room for the Ukrainian identity in the Russian world,” Rusyn said on his visit. “For us, it’s clear: to fight or to die.”

Rusyn’s faith community directly feels the impact of donations.

“We get to see their faces,” Boone said. “We get to hear their stories. The Outreach Foundation really makes it a priority to be about a relationship.”

Boone said any resources you send helps the foundation get donations to the boarder.

“That’s the best way to do this,” Boone said. “It’s the most immediate way.”

Boone said monetary donations work best because it can buy supplies in bulk to make the most of every dollar. Boone said the money you send to South Highland Presbyterian or to The Outreach Foundation marked for Ukraine efforts is used for that aid abroad.

The Outreach Foundation is planning another trip in a few weeks to deliver supplies. In the long term, the foundation continues to provide housing and counseling services as Ukraine continues to navigate this war.