The Blood Matters Blog ·

OBI and Global Blood Fund in Ukraine

Since April, Our Blood Institute and Global Blood Fund, an OBI-founded nonprofit focused on improving transfusion care in many of the world’s poorest countries, have been providing hot lunches to a Ukrainian blood center's 150 employees each week through a program we’re calling “Thanksgiving Wednesday.”


Stories from Zaporizhzhia

Six years ago, Maxim Onishchenko joined Zaporizhzhia Regional Blood Service Center as a technical specialist, not knowing how drastically his life and job would change the moment Russian troops crossed over into neighboring Ukraine in early 2022.

Over the first few days of the war, Onishchenko feared that Russia’s military would target Ukrainian energy facilities, so he and his team went to work creating a backup fuel supply to ensure that power to the blood center continued uninterrupted. Now, Onishchenko says Zaporizhzhia’s blood center can do just that, “in any conditions as long as it might take.”

“The blood center and its proper work have become my personal life,” Onishchenko says.

Such commitment means that it is often difficult to find more than a few minutes to eat – much less prepare – a proper meal. That’s why we, along with our Ukrainian partners DonorUA and our sister organization Global Blood Fund, are proud to provide a bit of kindness and comfort each week through our Thanksgiving Wednesday initiative.

“Since there is not much time during the day, I cook at home, and at work I usually have lunch alone and in a hurry,” Onishchenko says. “So I am very grateful for the variety of lunches that we are treated with.”

How to Help

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Zaporizhzhia, a city of 700,000 located in southeastern Ukraine, has been under constant threat from Russian forces and experiences near-daily shelling. The employees of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Blood Service Center have been working tirelessly since, with shifts often exceeding 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to meet the ever-present need for blood supplies.

If you would like to support the brave men and women at the center, join us in our Thanksgiving Wednesday initiative by making a one-time or recurring contribution to You can also help fund Global Blood Fund's mission by becoming an Open Arms partner simply donate blood at any OBI facility or mobile drive and opt to forgo your gifted T-shirt. The cost of that shirt will then be directed to one of Global Blood Fund's international aid programs.