LifeNets: Who We Are and Why We Do It
It is exciting to see the lives of people transformed. Giving and sharing with others reflects the kind of heart and hope that defines the kind of people we are. When those we help can help others, the circle of giving is complete.
We believe in:
· Meeting humanitarian needs to relieve suffering.
· Generating hope through opportunities to become self-sufficient.
· Working on the basis of mutual respect, honor and dignity with recipients and donors.
· Delivering services through local leaders whom we know and trust.
· Being culturally sensitive in the type and amount of aid we deliver.
· Leveraging donations by partnering with organizations who sell us their products at a fraction of the wholesale cost.
· Using governmental services such as the U.S. Defense and State Departments to defray costs of container shipments.
Creating a circle of ongoing benefits. In many cases recipients are able to pass on aid, training and services to others. They are living examples of “Passing on the Gift” to their communities. This preserves individual dignity and reinforces the practice of giving to others.
LifeNets: How It Started
Originally an informal network of churches, relief groups and concerned individuals across the United States, LifeNets was formally organized as a non-profit humanitarian relief organization in 1999 to better and more effectively serve needy peoples around the world.
The roots of the organization can be traced to 1996, when Victor Kubik, LifeNets president, joined Maurice Frohn, a retired English surgeon and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgery, for a investigative trip to the Chernobyl region. Dr. Frohn had received disturbing reports about rapidly rising rates of thyroid cancer in children irradiated by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion 10 years earlier. As Kubik was fluent in both Russian and Ukrainian, Dr. Frohn asked him to accompany him as a translator.
What they found was horrifying. Multiple thousands of Ukrainian children were afflicted with life-threatening radiation-induced diseases. Determined to do something to help, Dr. Frohn and Kubik returned to the West, where Dr. Frohn founded The International Chernobyl Children’s Trust in England. Kubik, who was named a trustee of the Children’s Trust, then returned to the United States, where he began informally organizing relief shipments to the Chernobyl area.
Kubik’s efforts in the United States, together with some funding from the International Chernobyl Children’s Trust in England, have resulted in almost 160 tons of clothing, medical supplies, used computers and other items being shipped to needy regions in the Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Africa and elsewhere since 1996.
As the informal relief efforts expanded in the Ukraine, Kubik became aware of other situations where aid could be sent. A fulltime Christian minister with the United Church of God, Kubik was encouraged to formally create a registered non-profit relief organization in order to better utilize government and other resources not generally available to individuals. Today, Kubik continues his pastoral work, but devotes much of his free time with other volunteers in developing aid programs. He continues to build the LifeNets network, drawing on the resources of many service groups and churches.