Images of bomb-blasted hospitals and wailing, terror-stricken children have many Americans eager to donate to the Ukrainian cause.
But it can be difficult to know where to direct your money. It seems that after every natural disaster and manmade tragedy, stories emerge of charities that either mismanage a sudden surge of donations or, worse yet, turn out to be outright frauds.
Charity experts say donors shouldn’t succumb to high-pressure appeals — those urgent texts appearing on your phone or ardent messages filling your inbox. They might be scams. Do a bit of research before you give.
And better, they say, to donate to an established nonprofit that can touch many lives than to answer a plea to help an individual family or child, no matter how compelling. Likewise, give to campaigns to crowdfund fighter jets for the Ukrainian military at your own risk.
Start with medical care.
As of April 13, the World Health Organization had verified 119 attacks on health care infrastructure in Ukraine — including health facilities, ambulances, and warehouses. The assaults have made it more difficult to care for the thousands of Ukrainians who have been wounded in Russia’s unprovoked attack. There are reports of disruptions to maternal and childbirth care, too. And a lack of clean water and crowded conditions in bomb shelters has put the country at high risk for cholera, measles, diphtheria, and COVID-19 outbreaks.
Doctors Without Borders has provided crucial support, bringing in over 225 tons of medical and relief supplies and conducting mass-casualty training at hospitals all over Ukraine. The group has also evacuated dozens of patients and their families.
Food is a critical need, too. The conflict has limited Ukrainian farmers’ access to feed, fuel, and fertilizer — and hiked prices for these inputs by 35 to 45 percent. One large agricultural producer lost 4 million chickens at a single poultry farm. The shock to the agricultural system has meant food shortages in parts of the country. And some families have been forced to go into debt just to feed their children.
Some of the most respected organizations working to stave off hunger in Ukraine — and feed refugees in neighboring countries — include Feed My Starving Children and Children’s Hunger Fund. A group called Water Mission is working to provide those who have fled with safe water and hygiene.
There are also organizations that provide a wide range of services. International Relief Teams, for instance, is working with on-the-ground partners to supply food, medicine, and cash payments to displaced people in Ukraine and refugees in Poland, Romania, and Moldova.
There is more to do. And this, again, is just a sampling of credible organizations delivering aid to Ukraine and the 5 million people who have fled the country.
Finding other trustworthy agencies will require only a few minutes of online research. And with so much suffering, the least that Americans of means can do is make an informed gift.
Editorials represent the views of the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Follow us @GlobeOpinion.