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Petru Gradinariu
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Valentin Gradinariu


On February 24, 2022, the war began. I had it in my heart to go to the border with Ukraine to help people fleeing the fighting. As soon as I finished the workday, I picked up my family, and off we went, not knowing what to expect. Thousands of mothers with children fleeing to Romania to save their lives massed at the border. Most of them did not have the slightest idea where they would go or where they would sleep. That evening we brought three mothers with their children to our home. Once they secured housing at their desired destination, more families followed. With a steady demand beyond our capacity, I started calling friends and acquaintances, searching for accommodations. In the following days, centers opened (in hostels or centers of some associations) to provide shelter. We shifted our attention to directing families to where there was capacity and coordinating logistics. Our work was around the clock. Soon we were organizing refugees in tents at the border into groups with shared destinations and directing transportation across Ukraine and beyond. Yet the numbers kept growing, a long line stretching twenty kilometers beyond the border as far as one could see. Crossing the border, it became clear that people waiting with what they had carried in the cold and the falling snow were in a desperate struggle. With the help of friends, we formed teams and began to ferry van loads of food, hot tea, warm clothing, and bedding across the border. After spotting a tent serving warm soup on the Romanian side of the border run by a Jewish humanitarian organization, we arranged to add that to our daily deliveries. With each trip, we discovered more that was needed, from pampers for their children to helping expedite the passage of a pregnant mother in labor thru customs and onto medical facilities in Romania. Each day was a new challenge. Then, I got word there were over sixty thousand internally displaced Ukrainians (IDP) within Chernivtsi, a city of a quarter million people some fifty kilometers up the road from the border. The following day, rounding up a translator, off I went. It was the first time I had been to this beautiful city. Locating city hall, I entered and asked for the location these people. We were ushered in to the mayor's office, who, after a short discussion, thanked us for our efforts and introduced us to his deputy heading up the refugee relief effort, who directed us to five of the largest centers housing refugees. It was there that the inspiration for our mission was born. Sharing the photos from our visit with friends and family, we marshaled their support to provide food, clothing, mattresses, sleeping bags, personal hygiene products, and whatever else might be useful to the Chernivtsi IDP. Yet, it was clear our numbers limited our capacity to help. We needed to expand our reach and solicit support beyond our networks in Suceava and Romania. During this time, I constantly communicated with my family in the USA, three brothers, and my parents, who lived in Phoenix, AZ. Two of my brothers, Valentin and John, felt compelled to join in my work and provide whatever funds they could round up and afford personally. At their church of Elim din Phoenix, they shared my stories and their intentions to join me. Members stepped forward with contributions. John and I agreed that it was time to act on an idea we had been discussing well before the war, creating an NGO to support those in need so that we could enlist people everywhere in that effort. In God's Hand was formed with helping Ukraine's refugees and IDP as its mission. Back in Ukraine, I crossed paths with a local Ukrainian pastor from Velea Cosminlui, just outside Chernivtsi. Igor was his name, and he, too, was helping IDP who came to his village to find accommodations. He led me to the center of Chernivtsi, the regional Council building, where thousands of IDP came to register for help from the Ukrainian government. The support they received was inadequate, lacking essential personal hygiene products, sufficient nutritional needs, and more. Many also lacked access to kitchens to prepare the food provided, living in school gymnasiums, abandoned buildings and other marginally habitable settings. We added this location to the network of IDP centers we already supported and began considering opening a kitchen and serving freshly cooked meals. We reached out to our network again with our plans and our desire to purchase a tent to house our kitchen on the Council grounds. The first vendor we spoke to refused our money and donated the tent. The next day, with plans to transport the tent to Chernivtsi, I volunteered to transport two refugees back to Ukraine. As we headed to the border, they told me they were professional chefs with plans to stay in Chernivtsi for a while. I was in disbelief. Asking if they would consider working in the tent kitchen, they gladly accepted, and within a week, we had the kitchen fully equipped with stoves, a sink, tables, and chairs and began serving the first meals. We fed over 1,000 people on the first day, with steady growth to follow. Over time we observed many mothers with children amongst the IDP. The children, scattered across the city without access to their peers, lacked smiles and were withdrawn. We organized two-day summer camps staffed by young IDPs, and smiles and laughter returned. The children sought their fellow campers out at our tent, and friendships began to blossom. Our journey continued, identifying needs amongst those we served and securing the support to meet them. Challenged to support similar projects with IDP and refugees in Moldova and Odessa, we secured further donations and delivered the necessary aid. Since then, we have expanded to support kitchens in Toretsk, on the front lines, to collectively provide over 4,000 hot meals a week to those displaced and those still living in war's reach. And we also support orphans and continue to organize events and summer camps for the displaced community and their children. Our team comprises individuals from the same community we serve, providing them with a regular source of income and assistance with housing. We procure food and materials locally in Ukraine. We secure much of the non-perishable food as donations from individuals, local institutions, and the warehouses of the many Romanian and International NGOs close to the border. In God's Hand is comprised entirely of volunteers with every dollar donated going directly to the people we serve.

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Serhey Bohdanov

It wasn’t my first time being an IDP. In 2014 me and my family had to flee from Luhansk just to save our lives.I lost my job, we lost our house. Everything was destroyed. Then we started a new life. We built a new house, I was an owner of auto shop, car washing service and a tire service. Things are started to get better. After some years of suffering it was a time to settle down. But everything changed after 24th of February. I had to take my family again and I had to be an IDP once more. We went to Chernivtsi because my daughter was studying there. We got the news that russian soldiers were living in our house. It was tough. That was the time when we found In God's Hand kitchen tent. This is a place which helps a hundreds of people to escape from the reality and to get a hand of help. We are volunteering here to be useful for those who needs this help.

Oksana Bohdanova

It was my second time when I had to start everything from the beginning. In 2014 my family lost everything. We escaped from the war to Harkiv from Luhansk, but then returned in our region on territory controlled by Ukraine. New house, new work, new environment, new possibilities for my children. It felt like life was coming together and then that day of 24th of February ruined everything again. Road, documents. The whole life in two suitcases My husband, my sun and I went to Chernivtsi. Here we found a place to live for a while in my daughter’s friend house. After a couple of months while staying in a line for humanitarian packages with my daughter, we decided to have some food at the tent of organisation “In God’s Hand”. We asked if we can help with something and the day after we started to be volunteers. For the long period of time now we are providing hundreds of people with everyday lunches. I can’t be more grateful to have a chance to help my country and my people in such way.

Sofiia Bohdanova

On February 24th I was in Chernivtsi when my mother called me and say that the war started. They were coming from Luhansk region, so I was extremely stirred up with the fact of waiting them here, in quieter place. I understood that it had happened again. In 2014 I experienced it. I knew how it feels to lose a home, to lose your life. But I wasn’t ready to do it again. A really good friend of mine had the opportunity to let us staying in her grandmother’s house for a while. One day, we went to have some humanitarian help and I saw a man who was speaking English. I decided to have a small conversation with him. That’s how I became a volunteer for a “In God’s Hand” organisation. For now, we have spent months giving everyday ready meals for people in need. Also I became an interpreter between the tent and foreign supporters of it. Such an amazing opportunity to make your voice louder about what is happening in our country. Such an amazing opportunity to be useful and inspiring for someone. Such an amazing opportunity just to feel that you’re a human, you’re loved and supported.

Inna Minienko

To begin with, my story starts with a full scale invasion of Ukraine caused by Russian Federation. I was forced to leave my city and evacuate to Chernivetska oblast`with my teenage daughter. It all happened on April 13th. It wasn`t possible to stay much longer due of a severe shooting in the area we used to be and a loss of my full-time job. About a month we lived in temporarily equipped place, a school, to be precise. Time went by and month later I recieved a job offering as a volunteer, to which I replayed positively. I have been volunteering for about 5 months now. I help people who got in the situation similar to mine. Our team helps people by providing them with food and informational advice about receiving humanitarian aid around the city for internally displaced person (IDPs).

Our Team.

Our teams in Ukraine staffing our kitchens come from the communities we serve of internally displaced families and individuals. Each day they greet hundreds of their fellow Ukrainians with a smile, a tasty and nutritious meal, and, most of all, a fellowship of genuine concern and goodwill.

They are remarkable people with an indomitable spirit and determination. We are blessed to be working at their side and sharing in the joy they bring to each day.

Our Mission

Our Mission

It’s been over a year since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. A third of the country’s population has been forced to flee their homes. Of those, millions remain in the country without viable means of support.


Our mission is to serve God and provide support to sustain them during the conflict and help return them to their homes at its conclusion. 

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Our Vision

In God's Hand is a Christian humanitarian organization with a mission to assist and spread the word of God to Ukrainian refugees in vulnerable areas of Romania and Moldova. Our name reflects our belief that we are small and helpless, but with faith in God's ability to multiply our efforts, just as he multiplied the bread in the Bible.


We follow Jesus Christ's example of feeding the multitudes while spreading the Good News of reconciliation with God. We aim to provide more than earthly necessities; we want to share the message of salvation and the knowledge that all our blessings come from the Lord Jesus. To this end, we are blessed to have Ukrainian volunteers who can convey the Good News.

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