‘You can’t emotionally prepare yourself.’ NJ mayor describes conditions at Ukraine-Polish border

Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra traveled to Poland last week to help Ukrainian refugees who fled the country during the Russian invasion. News 12 New Jersey’s Keith Kocinski has been on the ground with the mayor, documenting his journey from the Jersey Shore to the heart of the war.
News 12 caught up with Kanitra while he was shopping at a store near the Polish-Ukrainian border looking for supplies.
Kanitra was stuffing a large passenger van full of toys, clothes and other items. The mayor and his friend then drove the items to a refugee center in Przemysl, Poland.
“Every time that we hand a stuffed animal or coloring book to a little kid, and you know, they hold it tight, you know, it chokes you up,” Kanitra says.
By the night, Kanitra drove the empty van to the small border town of Medyka, helping to provide food and a ride for refugees.
"We are going to the border right now. We are literally going to be at the border of a war zone. You can't emotionally prepare yourself,” he says.
It was an exhausting week for Kanitra and his friend Greg, going back and forth between the refugee center and the Polish-Ukrainian border helping in any way they can. They are part of many from around the globe doing the same - an outpouring of compassion and care for those simply just searching for peace and shelter.
"It's cliché to say it, but it makes you so much appreciate what you have. You know we'll go back to Point Pleasant Beach and we will keep that all in perspective and we will try to make a difference while we're there so our time isn't wasted as the crisis goes on,” Kanitra says.
More than 1.2 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Poland since the start of the war. It has become the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
Ukrainian refugees are permitted to live and work in the EU for up to three years without having to claim asylum.