(WXYZ) — Two metro Detroit women with family in Ukraine, some on the front lines of the invasion, say their loved ones are struggling to get basic necessities like medical supplies.
“I feel like I’m not doing enough. I don’t know what to do," says Ivanna Voloshenyuk from West Bloomfield.
Voloshenyuk gets regular reports from back home, including from Kyiv, where civilians are still living in bomb shelters and fearing Russian attacks daily.
Basic supplies are dwindling as prices for them surge.
“I recently spoke to my cousin, and he said that they don’t have any iodine for wound sanitation and all of that, and you literally can’t find it anywhere,” says Voloshenyuk.
Nargis Akhrorova, another local Ukrainian from Dearborn, is trying to find supplies for those back home and ship items weekly through Poland. Both Akhrorova and Voloshenyuk are working with a tireless network of volunteers around the United States.
Fellow volunteers in New Jersey load Amazon wish list items into boxes to be shipped.
The efforts are primarily individual, Voloshenyuk says. People connect on Facebook to support Ukraine, then send what they can through corporations like Meest - which can ship large quantities over to Poland.
“We’re sending medical supplies every week. We’re not able to get bulletproof vests and helmets," says Akhrorova.
Shipping items for self-defense overseas is tricky for individuals. Specific items need special approval, and that can take time. Both women say a local store has turned them down because of it.
“It’s really hard. I just want to help them. At least with something," says Akhrorova.
Akhrorova's family, including her mother, are still in Ukraine. Her male relatives are fighting in a civilian army.
Both women are from the same area in western Ukraine. They say they will continue to do what they can, no matter what, to help those back home.
“I know these people, they are like really great people.. and I could imagine living here forever without them," says Akhrorova.
Anyone interested in donating can donate to the Ukrainian Federal Bank and Ukrainian Credit Union in Warren. Donations can be made to 100 Aid to Ukraine or 101 Aid to Ukraine's Warriors.