Ukrainian church teams with Robbinsville Democratic Club for donation drive
A Ukrainian Orthodox church in Mercer County is teaming with the Robbinsville Democratic Club to help the people of Ukraine.
New Jersey resident Svetlana Czutuk was born in Ukraine. She is volunteering with St. George Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Hamilton to put shipments together for her homeland.
“I’m going to help any way that I can,” she says.
“I cannot believe how the community has shown up with packages. They’re packing. They’re bringing everything that they can to help us,” says Tony Lesenskyj, of the St. George church.
People are donating food, clothing and medical supplies.
"It's so heartwarming to see them show up in droves…coming into our facility,” Lesenskyj says.
LIVE UPDATES: The latest developments on the Russia-Ukraine Crisis
"I can't believe it. I still cannot believe it. Everyday I'm coming up and they got support,” Czutuk says.
In just four days, they have received around 20,000 pounds of donations. The church has direct contact with people from Ukraine, making it possible to send shipments overnight.
"We have people that are going there from JFK. We hand them the box whether it's tourniquets or bandages and they're flying there and we're getting them to the front line. in almost seven or eight hours,” Lesenskyj says.
Each donation is personal for Czutuk, whose father was living in Kyiv when the war began.
"He saw tanks next to his house. He's 80 years old. He's 79 and will be 80 in September. He's not young. And he's by himself,” says Czutuk.
She says he is staying with her sister now in a different city. But he has no plans to abandon his country.
"He said he's not going to leave. He born there. He wants to die there,” Czutuk says.
Like Czutuk, many Ukrainian Americans are forced to watch from afar. But they are still holding onto a sense of pride.
"They're sad but they're also proud. In their eyes, they're watching a small country Ukraine, fight for democracy,” Lesenskyj says.