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Delaware County Baker Who Brought Donations To Ukraine Shares Experience Helping Homeland

RIDLEY PARK, Pa.  (CBS) -- A Ukrainian bakery owner in Delaware County is bringing humanitarian aid from Ridley Park to his war-torn homeland.

Illya Zayarchenko says every single donation was an immense help and was taken to the Kyiv region.

Things like medicine, first aid kits, tourniquets, and bulletproof vests are like gold in Ukraine.

"They all said just make sure you send that message back, it's a huge, huge thank you and words cannot describe," Zayarchenko said.

Zayarchenko is relaying a heartfelt message of gratitude from the Ukrainian people after he brought donations raised at his Ridley Park bakery, Ardour Bakery + Coffee, to his homeland.

"Knowing that people all around the world just supporting them and helping them, it just gives them a lot more strength, a lot more power," Zayarchenko said.

Currently, he is staying in the middle of Lviv and Kyiv and aiding in humanitarian efforts, whether that's translating, working in refugee centers, or loading food.

Zayarchenko sent Eyewitness News a video showing a humanitarian aid convoy leaving the base in Hungary and headed to Ukraine.

He says the goal is to get as close as possible to Kyiv. From there, he says people on bikes and motorcycles deliver the food and other necessities.

He also spoke with people from Mariupol, one of the hardest-hit cities. He says they cracked a boiler pipe to drink while hiding.

"They were using that water to drink because there was nothing else," Zayarchenko said. "There was no food, no medicine."

His trip has been both eye-opening and life-changing, reminding him of how precious life can be.

"Honestly, I just couldn't believe it's possible in the 21st century that this kind of stuff can be happening," Zayarchenko said.

He says he is also making many contacts with people in Ukraine so when he comes back to the United States, he can stay in contact with them and continue to send donations and help.

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