Men of the USA Southern Territory asked to hold on to their F.O.R.K.’s
The scenes throughout Ukraine are hard to watch. Bombed out buildings, citizens fleeing for their lives from shelling and living in makeshift relocation encampments. There is a group however that faces even harder difficulties—the Roma or gypsy population.
It is estimated that over 400,000 Roma live in Ukraine. Amnesty International says, “Their mistreatment goes back before the 19th century. In medieval England, Switzerland and Denmark they were sentenced to death. Many countries, including Germany, Poland and Italy, ordered the expulsion of all Roma. The Nazis in World War II saw them as racially inferior and murdered hundreds of thousands of them. After the war, Roma continued to be discriminated against and oppressed, especially in the Soviet Union. Between the 1970’s and 1990’s the Czech Republic and Slovakia sterilized around 90,000 women against their will.”
“Today the Roma often live in isolated slums, often without electricity or running water, and they struggle to get the healthcare they need. Many live with the daily threat of forced evictions, police harassment and violent attacks. Romani children also often suffer segregation in schools and receive a lower standard of education. As a result, the Roma have more health problems, worse housing and lower literacy rates. A Roma can expect to live 10 years less than their European neighbor.”
“When we were in Hungary ten years ago, we witnessed the conditions the Roma lived in then, and the discrimination was right out in the open,” reports Major Mark Satterlee, Territorial Men’s Ministries Secretary. “Our guide told us that a candidate for mayor of a small town nearby promised to run the Roma out of the area if he was elected.” Centuries of prejudice and discrimination have pushed the great majority of Roma to the margins of society and kept them there. How much more difficult is the life of the Roma in Ukraine when war has caused a scarcity of supplies?
The Salvation Army in Hungary partnering with Ukraine has opened 18 feeding sites where the Roma and other displaced families may receive meals and food. While the effort is currently being supported by The Salvation Army United Kingdom Territory, that funding will end in June this year. The program currently feeds 350 families consisting of 1,750 meals. Lt. Colonel George Baker with The Salvation Army World Services Organization adds, “Pastoral support is also offered, on request, as part of the program, which is covered by local pastors in each community.”
Operation F.O.R.K. (Feed Our Roma Kids), the 2023 territorial men’s project, is challenging the men throughout the Southern Territory to raise the $67,200 needed to continue the program and the 18 feeding stations for an additional year. The men can donate or raise funds and turn the money into their divisional headquarters. The funds will then be transferred to THQ Men’s Ministries for forwarding on to the affected area.
“The men of the Southern Territory respond when there is a proven need. Two years ago we asked the men to sponsor beehives for subsistence farmers in the Congo. Although our goal was 100 beehives, we ended up sponsoring well over 300. Last year, we asked the men of the territory to sponsor water tanks for corps in Papua New Guinea. We hoped we could raise $20,000.00 for 10 water tanks. We ended up raising nearly $100,000.00 purchasing 30 water tanks.” reports Major Satterlee. “This is an ambitious goal, but we want to believe God for big things. I am confident the men of the Southern Territory will rise up again and meet the need. Operation F.O.R.K. is merely a means of giving men the opportunity to care for kids and their families halfway around the world.”
For more information, please contact Major Mark Satterlee at Mark.Satterlee@uss.salvationarmy.org