MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A Miami couple visiting family, friends, and business interests in Slovakia is just 15 miles from the border of Ukraine.
Arnie and Silvia Weiss were set to return to Miami when Russia invaded Ukraine. They said they felt compelled to visit the border where refugees were coming in, trying to escape the onslaught of bombs.
"Every one of the displaced people that we saw, you could see it in your faces," said Arnie Weiss.
Images of despair and desperation the couple said they will never forget.
Silvia Weiss, who grew up in Czechoslovakia, felt compelled to serve as a voice, translating for women and children.
"It was horrifying when a woman tells me, 'I used to live 40 kilometers away from Kyiv and I left my parents behind, my husband, my brother and his family, and my husband basically put me on a train and said save yourself and save our son'," she said.
Heart-shattering conversations were had as she tried to figure out how to help. The couple was told of the specific needs of millions of Ukrainian women and children. They then reached out to their social network and donated $20,000 worth of goods.
"Enough baby supplies for 900 infants and small children and everything from hand sanitizer gel to liquid for sanitizing surfaces, you name it, because that's what they told us they needed," Arnie Weiss said. "We need rain ponchos. We're about to get into a very rainy season. We just need to give people a stupid piece of plastic they can cover themselves with."
Silvia Weiss lived in Czechoslovakia when Russia invaded in 1968 and remembers the terrors of war all too well.
She has set up an art fundraiser with pieces from Eastern European artists.
"All the art was donated and if people can bid, all the money from this auction will be donated to Refugee Relief," she said.
Funds raised will help build tent cities for mothers and children who have no place to stay.
You can access the charity site HERE.
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