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'Overwhelming': Local collection for Ukraine comes to an end with massive response

Posted at 10:53 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 23:16:59-04

OAK PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — A semitruck packed full of supplies that are on the way to Ukraine left a warehouse Wednesday in Oak Park.

It wasn’t the first shipment of donations, and it’s not the last.

“The response has been overwhelming, it has been incredible,” said Vera Petrusha, president of Ukranian Children's Aid and Relief Effort (UCARE).

UCARE is a local organization that has spent more than two decades helping Ukrainian children. In the midst of war, they’ve been collecting diapers, clothes and other supplies to send overseas, but the response became so big that they outgrew their space in a Southfield church and moved to a warehouse in Oak Park.

They are no longer accepting donations as they sort through what they already have.

“We need to get all this inventoried and sent. And then after that, we’ll reassess what the needs are,” Petrusha said.

“The response has been absolutely amazing from across metro Detroit,” said Jordan Fylonenko with the Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan. “Our warehouses, our churches have been filled to the brim with humanitarian aid, and it’s still coming.”

The committee consists of local Ukrainian organizations that formed during the war. Although UCARE’s collection has ended, Fylonenko says there are still ways to help.

“We encourage everyone to visit uacrisisresponse.org. There's a ton of information on there with credible, established 501(c)(3) nonprofits,” Fylonenko said.

For many Ukrainians in metro Detroit, this war hits close to home. As the days go by, their commitment and support for their loved ones only grows stronger.

“It's hard. It’s very difficult to know that your family is hiding in bunkers and trying to communicate with you and they’re listening to bombs,” Petrusha said of her family members in Ukraine. "Everyone wants to help and do what they can. I wish we could do more.”