The Rapid Relief Team has delivered its one millionth meal to Ukrainian refugees, in a mammoth international effort including donors and volunteers from across the world.

The Brethren charity launched the Food Box program just a week after Russia invaded Ukraine and had Food Boxes on the ground a week later.

Australian donors contributed $1.2 million of the $4.5 million that has so far funded 102,,601 RRT Food Boxes, each of which contains up to 24 meals, equating to more than one million meals donated and delivered.

The boxes were conceived of in New Zealand, and are being packed in Germany, France, UK and Sweden, before being trucked to the Polish border and Ukraine.

Trucks loaded with the boxes and other essential items take them to Poland on the Ukraine border where government officials, the military or other charities receive them.

Since March, RRT has successfully directed 57 truckloads of aid to deliver more than 102000 Food Boxes in total.

From there, the Food Boxes and other essential items are gifted to Ukrainian refugees in Poland and into various Ukraine destinations to be distributed to people impacted by this crisis.

In the case of Russian-occupied cities, the Food Boxes are left 25km away in military camps, with brave women and older people riding bikes to collect it in ruck sacks – always under threat of fire.

Dubbed Operation 322 – standing for March 2022 – the Food Box effort is RRT’s response to the human crisis which has gripped Ukraine.

To give an idea of the scale – RRT, which is the global charitable arm of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church – has delivered more meals to Ukraine in less than three months than they delivered across the world during the 2021 Covid outbreak.

In Europe, teams of up to 75 volunteers pack as many as 5,000 meals in a night in secret warehouses, with the location not disclosed so that the operation cannot be targeted for disruption or harm.

The RRT Food Box contains a variety of non-perishable, long-life food providing easy-to-make and eat meals.

Feedback from partner agencies included that the small touches in the Food Box like chocolate and tea, mean a lot to people with nothing.

The RRT Food Box program has been running for four years and RRT undertakes an annual survey to ensure it is meeting the need of the community.

They were initially developed by RRT in New Zealand as an assistance tool to support those escaping domestic violence or needing to find short term emergency accommodation, but the program has expanded significantly.

Over the last two years, recipients of the RRT Food Boxes have expanded to include temporary or casual workers, or the elderly, isolating at home due to COVID 19, to those recovering from the impacts of bushfire, floods and drought.