By Kathy Brown.
(March 10, 2022) — Yesterday, Doreen Staskelumas posted on the “You Live in Haddam If…” Facebook page about her friend Steve Bibisi, who lives in Higganum, and has a nonprofit that has been helping widows and orphans from Ukraine. She also posted a link to this article from the Better Business Bureau about the nonprofit. According to the BBB article, Steve has made five mission trips to Ukraine to help widows and orphans.
I was intrigued and contacted Steve to find out more about his work with the nonprofit Rabonnis Love, who he connected with through his church, Masters Table Ministry, located in Wethersfield. Steve has lived in Higganum for about four years. “I originally went to Odessa, Ukraine, to meet some friends that I had over there,” explained Steve. “But what I saw there changed my life. I could not go home and just live my life. I needed to do something to help them.”
He said that people live in tiny rooms with paper-thin walls. Children and parents shared the same room. He saw an elderly lady selling flowers outside of a grocery store just to survive. According to the Rabbonis Love website, there are 10,000 children in Ukrainian orphanages. So, he partnered with Rabbonis Love to raise money and give groceries and supplies that are needed there, and to help build homes for some of the orphans and widows.
Now that war has come to Ukraine, they’ve been raising funds to send to the Church of God Odessa. They provide supplies, medicine, food, and water. They are also looking into building temporary shelters out of shipping containers. They’re also helping to get some Ukrainians out of the country to safety.
Steve owns Kingdom Financial Solutions, so he is very busy with tax season. However, he is the Treasurer of Rabonnis Love, and is responsible for their fundraising. “I will be going to Germany to help the refugees in Moldova and other countries after tax season,” he said. He is in contact with the families in the Ukraine that they support to see what their needs are.
The organization is “dedicated to human life. We think nothing is more valuable than this,” said Steve. “The people of Ukraine are the nicest, fun-hearted, grateful people. Even if they have little, they are grateful for everything they have.”
“100% of the donations go directly to the people,” Steve explained. “We take nothing for administrative costs. The people of Ukraine need every last dime.”
“I am fully committed to helping the people of Ukraine get the supplies they need right now while the war is still going on, and to help the people of Ukraine rebuild,” said Steve. “It costs $10 to feed a person for a week, so no amount is too small. I am grateful for any help you can give us to help my people.”
While Higganum is over 4,500 miles away from Ukraine, one man here is trying to make a difference over there.