Walkathon held in Highland Park to raise money for Ukrainian refugees

There is a growing concern for Ukrainian refugees who have left their homes amid the Russian invasion. Many of them have family members who live in the United States, including in New Jersey.
There is now a grass-roots fundraiser in Highland Park to raise money to provide food, shelter and clothing to those Ukrainians who have had to leave. The refugees are mostly women and children who have escaped to places like Poland, Moldova and Romania.
One of the organizers of the Highland Park fundraiser is Zina Boroday, a 16-year-old whose aunt Maria has taken refuge in an area west of Kyiv.
“She was able to get out of Kyiv and traveled to Volv, which is safer right now,” Boroday says.
But she says she is worried that her aunt will have to move once again as the Russian offensive strengthens.
"We have serious concerns that Russia may be planning to use chemical or biological agents against the Ukrainian people,” says U.S. Ambassador to UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
The walkathon fundraiser in Highland Park was possible with the help of the Reformed Church of Highland Park, which has specialized in assisting refugees. Through their organization Interfaith Rise, they have recently helped hundreds who fled Afghanistan.
"We just finished resettling 250 Afghans since Oct. 1,” says Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale.
Kaper-Dale is looking to assist Ukrainians. But he says he is learning Ukraine’s neighbors may be first in line.
"Secretary of State [Antony] Blinken has made comments to make it seem like we are going to go a little slow on receiving refugees here,” Kaper-Dale says.
Kaper Dale says the so-called Lautenberg Amendment, set up in the past to help those from the Soviet Bloc, immigrate to the U.S., is in place. Normally it takes three to five years for people to get here.
"If there's ever a moment to say let's open the tap a little bit it's right now,” he says.
Donations from this fundraiser will go directly to refugees overseas.