‘Inspiring generosity’: South Floridians use Airbnb to help Ukrainians

Airbnb users are booking stays with hosts in Ukraine to help send donations to those hit by the war in Ukraine.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Alexa Godel found a creative way to help Ukrainians and she wants others to know.

Godel used Airbnb. She avoided management companies and searched for a host in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. She chose to help Serge.

“I booked the stay and then I immediately messaged the host and said, ‘I just want to let you know I’m not going to be coming and staying. I just really wanted to find a way to donate and make an impact. And please keep this money, and if you don’t need it, please give it to somebody who does.’”

The Ukrainian host responded with gratitude. Russian forces attacked and he was forced to leave everything he owns behind.

“I can’t even imagine what he’s going through let alone the rest of the Ukrainian people right now but it just felt great to get a response from him and know that I was making a difference,” Godel said.

Juan Patron said he and his friends also used Airbnb to help Ukrainians in need. They have helped about 25 families and he hopes to help at least 25 more by the end of the weekend.

“Some of the hosts have been really grateful and some of them are telling us they’re using the money to cross the border,” Patron said.

Airbnb released a statement about the trend: “We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community during this moment of crisis. Airbnb is temporarily waiving guest and host fees on bookings in Ukraine at this time.”

The company also announced the suspension of operations in Russia and Belarus.

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Other ways to help

The nonprofit sector is asking for donations to help support Ukrainians. Volunteers report there is a need for medical supplies, food, and blankets.

- The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has a fund to assist the Ukrainian Jewish community and is accepting donations via credit card.

- The International Committee of the Red Cross is asking the public to contribute to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Ukraine via PayPal or credit card.

- Support Hospitals of Ukraine is raising funds to send 20 40-foot containers to Ukrainian hospitals in Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, and other cities.

- Razom for Ukraine, an organization that supports Democracy in Ukraine, is running an emergency response operation to deliver medical supplies. The Ukrainian organization is accepting donations on Zelle, PayPal, or via bank transfer.

  • Razom referred donors to a United Help Ukraine fundraiser on Facebook to buy tactic medicine backpacks for paramedics, first aid kits, tourniquets, blood-stopping gauzes, nasopharyngeal airway tubes, and other medical supplies.
  • Razom referred donors to a Revived Soldiers Ukraine fundraiser on Facebook to help injured Ukrainian soldiers get the medical care they need. '
  • Razom referred donors to the Sunflower of Peace fundraiser on Facebook to help support doctors and paramedics in Ukraine.

- Ukrainian LGBT Military, created with the support of the NGO Point of Support and the Canadian CFLI Foundation, is accepting donations on PayPal (@ICLOUD with +14152799995) or transfers.

- The National Bank of Ukraine has an account to benefit Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

- The Kyiv Independent set up fundraisers on GoFundMe to continue their work and to help other journalists to cover the war and refugee crisis.

- The World Central Kitchen is helping to feed Ukrainians in the war-torn country. Chef José Andrés is accepting donations on PayPal, and via credit card or bank transfer.

- Charitable Foundation Voices of Children has a team of psychologists who aim to help children to deal with the trauma of war. The organization accepts donations on Privat24 or GPay.

- Save The Children has a mission to help vulnerable Ukrainian children. They are accepting donations for food, blankets, and face masks for health workers.

- Nova Ukraine is a nonprofit organization responding to the crisis. They are accepting donations via PayPal, Crypto and check.

- Malteser International, a non-governmental aid agency, is accepting donations via bank transfer to an account in Pax Bank Cologne.

- Vostok SOS, a charity foundation based out of Kyiv, is running hotlines to help distribute aid to those in need. The organization is accepting donations via bank transfer.

- Direct Relief is working with Ukraine’s Ministry of Health to provide medical backpacks to first responders.

- Americares has a team in Poland to deliver medical supplies and provide medical attention.

Understanding the conflict

A man carries combat gear as he leaves Poland to fight in Ukraine, at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.