Media CenterCRS Applauds Funding for Ukraine, Warns More is Still Needed for COVID-19 Response

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Brittany Wichtendahl
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, May 23, 2022 – In response to last week’s passage of a second funding bill for Ukraine, Bill O’Keefe, executive vice president for Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy for Catholic Relief Service (CRS), issued the following statement: 

“Congress did the right thing last week by providing ample new funding – more than $5 billion – to respond to the growing humanitarian impacts of the war in Ukraine. We applaud Congressional lawmakers for seeing the skyrocketing needs – namely related to global hunger – and for taking swift action to meet them. For children, women and families experiencing the most severe and chronic forms of hunger and malnutrition, these resources will undoubtedly lay the groundwork for longer-term stability in the face of constant threats, including those posed by climate change.

Yet our enthusiasm is hindered by an unfortunate reality: Not enough U.S. funding is going toward the COVID-19 response globally. Previously appropriated funds are exhausted and additional resources are desperately needed to maintain an international response. As such, we urge Congress to immediately approve at least $5 billion in global COVID-19 supplemental funding. A failure to do so would be shortsighted at best and disastrous at worst.

As we’ve seen in our work around the world, tens of millions of people continue to suffer the double-whammy of COVID-19 economic impacts and deteriorating food security tied to the war. Without additional resources to respond to COVID-19 globally, we will be unable to protect the poorest and most vulnerable populations. Conversely, if Congress acts now to provide these funds, it will be a positive step forward in fostering a more sustainable recovery in the years to come.”


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Nikki Gamer

Senior Public Affairs Manager

Nikki Gamer
May 23, 2022

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Senior Public Affairs Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement...More