BY ALI WEBB
A Searcy organization has reached out to U.S. congressmen from Arkansas for help in getting U.S. surplus released to provide aid to Ukraine, and appears to have received promises of support Congressmen asked for help from two of the three contacted. John L. Kachelman Jr. with Churches of Christ Ukraine Missions said he reached out to Sen. Tom Cotton, Rep. French Hill and Sen. John Boozman after visiting Ukraine. “During my visit to Ukraine in May, I visited a number of medical facilities and the physicians begged for any of the USA surplus items,” Kachelman said.”I have tried to get these released but the U.S. Department of State has put a lid on them saying they cannot go to Ukraine. The Ukrainian doctors wrote personal letters to Boozman, Cotton and Hill begging them for help in getting the surplus non-lethal commodities.”
A spokesperson for Cotton’s office said the senator supports aid to Ukraine. “The senator has stated that he supports the transfer of both lethal and nonlethal aid to the Ukrainians, as outlined in the Ukraine Freedom Support Act,” said Caroline Rabbitt, communications director for Cotton’s office. “The United States must also provide technical assistance to the government of Ukraine to
bolster its democratic governance structure and ensure that it stands as a rebuke to the creeping authoritarianism of [Russia President] Vladimir Putin.” Kachelman said he will “continue to ship humanitarian aid in spite of the obstacles and amazing flagrant twists of the truth.” According to Kachelman, the Ukraine Missions collects and ships commodities “that will benefit the vulnerable populations in the world.” “We follow the directive of Galatians 6:10 to ‘do good unto all men, especially those of the household of faith,’” Kachelman said. “We began by sending the first cargo container in 1999 and the opportunities have mushroomed beyond anything we could imagine. “In the last 18 months, our energies have been directed to assisting those in Ukraine who are struggling with the invasion and occupation of Russian troops. Over 2 million have been displaced as they were forced to flee their homes in Donetsk and Lugansk. Over 8,000 have been killed. Innumerable have been maimed and wounded by Russian artillery and attacks.
Who: Churches of Christ Ukraine Mission
What: Wants to get nonlethal U.S.surplus released to Ukraine
How: Reached out to congressmen from Arkansas for help
Kachelman said he heard from Hill first and then the mail to Cotton was returned. “I called and talked with one of his staff that said such was ‘treason’ and
that ‘everything shipped to Ukraine was stolen by Russia,’” Kachelman said. “I was appalled and told this staffer that I had shipped countless containers.” Kachelman said he received a letter from Cotton in which Cotton said, “We are not able to discuss the matter further.”
“We need help in sorting clothing to be sent to the displaced people. Those who fled Russia’s invasion left with only what they could carry in a shopping bag. We need to get them clothing and shoes. We have received a large amount
of clothing from churches in Alabama and these need to be repacked in 13-gallon plastic bags.” Kachelman also said the organization needed donations of personal hygiene products that can be distributed to the displaced people’s locations and help collecting “family buckets” for distribution. “We need help in collecting funds to provide food for the displaced people,” Kachelman said. “We have been able to provide 219,217 pounds of food — which includes a container I arranged from Germany that had 46,297 pounds of canned food and a container from British Columbia, Canada, that had 52,000 pounds of dry food mixes. In order to send money to help the humanitarian efforts mail to: Ukraine Missions/Churches of Christ, 2934 E. Moore Ave., Searcy, AR 72143. Kachelman said anyone can bring donations of family buckets, personal hygiene items such as soaps, shampoos, toothpaste and toothbrushes and small toys in good shape to the College Church of Christ. Those with a large amount to donate should bring it to the Life Resources International warehouse in Judsonia. To schedule a working group to come to the warehouse and sort clothing, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Kachelman at (901) 626-4538 or David Lawyer (501) 2305335.