I Prayed have prayed
Father, we thank You for people like Avi Schiffmann and Marco Burstein who are living out Your love and commandments. We pray that their site would continue to be successful and that they would able to able to bless the Ukrainians who are suffering.

Overwhelmed by a need to help, Harvard students Avi Schiffmann and Marco Burstein created a website to help Ukrainian refugees. Their site has already helped thousands of Ukrainians by introducing them to selfless people around the world.

From Jewish World Review. Avi Schiffmann climbed into bed after attending a demonstration in San Diego protesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but sleep wouldn’t come.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about what I could do to help,” said Schiffmann, 19, a Harvard University student who was visiting San Diego while taking a semester off. “I wanted to do something that would have an instant impact.”

Two years earlier, when he was 17, he’d developed a website, ncov2019.live, to help track the spread of the coronavirus around the world. The site was so well received that Schiffmann was presented a Webby Person of the Year award online in 2020 by Anthony S. Fauci.

Schiffman suddenly sat up in bed with an idea: Make a website for Ukrainian refugees who needed places to stay in other countries….

Then he texted his Harvard University freshman classmate Marco Burstein, an 18-year-old computer coding whiz, to ask if he could help him quickly develop a website.

Burstein was 3,000 miles away in Cambridge, Mass., and had papers to write and classes to attend. Still, he was in, he told Schiffmann….

On March 3 – three days and only five hours of sleep later – they launched Ukraine Take Shelter, a site in 12 languages where Ukrainian refugees fleeing war can immediately find hosts with spare rooms, unused resort condos, mother-in-law apartments and school dormitories….

In the first week, more than 4,000 potential hosts around the world, including in the United States, have offered a place to stay through Ukraine Take Shelter, said Schiffmann, noting that the number of hosts grows each day.

One host from the United States commented: “I have to ask myself, ‘If not I, who? If not now, when?’ ” I cannot stop this invasion, but my faith tells me now is my time to help others find safety and shelter.”

While most of the hosts who sign up live in countries surrounding Ukraine, Schiffmann and Burstein have seen offers from as far away as Israel and Canada.

In some cases, the hosts are even springing for airline tickets to get families to safety, Burstein said….

On the Ukraine Take Shelter website, refugees type in their current locations and dozens of host offers pop up from the closest towns in neighboring countries, Burstein said. They can also specify the number of people who need shelter and whether they have pets or family members with special needs.

For example, on March 9, somebody fleeing Kyiv would have found listings from hosts offering accommodations ranging from a sofa in a one-bedroom apartment in Lithuania to a nine-bedroom chalet with eight bathrooms in Romania.

“I am a medical student, as is my boyfriend and we live in a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Kaunas, Lithuania,” wrote the volunteer host who had an available sofa.

“As of such we can only offer our couch in the living room with free food, supplies and anything else that is necessary,” she continued. “We don’t have any kids and could babysit as well….”

The key to the website’s design is its simplicity, said Schiffmann, noting that exact addresses aren’t provided for the hosts or the refugees for security reasons….

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(Excerpt from Jewish World Review. Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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Jessica Renshaw
April 3, 2022

WOW! My husband and I are seventy-somethings and just downsized to a one-bedroom apartment but I want to be involved. I will let friends here in Southern California and in other states (plus in UK, Denmark, Australia, and Japan) know of Ukraine Take Shelter.

Linda Dorn
April 3, 2022

This is what The LORD calls us to do…love your neighbor as yourself! We had nothing but an extra room and a homeless man in tears at our church cried our for help. We took him in and he has been the biggest blessing! When you care for the poor, the needy, the widow, the orphan, the homeless and the oppressed you are touching the very heart of GOD who is outrageous and extravagant LOVE. Thank you Avi and Marco. You are the example needed!


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