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Carnegie Church Receives Overwhelming Number Of Donations For Ukrainian Civilians

CARNEGIE, Pa. (KDKA) -- A local church is preparing to ship thousands of donated items to Ukrainian civilians.

Some love is going to Ukraine from St. Peter and St. Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie. The church started collecting supplies the day after Russia invaded Ukraine, and the support has been overwhelming.

"It is difficult. And you want to do something, and this is just a little something that we can do to help," said Victor Onufrey, a member of St. Peter and St. Paul Ukrainian Church

Victor Onufrey's wife is from Ukraine. Her brother, mother and other loved ones are still there. The invasion has the Onufreys worrying about their family, but this collection has been a way for them to help Ukrainian civilians and refugees.

ukraine aid
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Onufrey and other church members have been sorting and packing thousands of donated items, including non-perishable food, diapers, medical supplies and emergency supplies.

"It feels amazing. Being in a Pittsburgh community, this is a Mister Rogers' story. Where is God in this? Well, look for the people doing good," Father John Charest of St. Peter and St. Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Charest and his wife are staying in touch with three children in Kyiv who they were supposed to adopt. He said the adoption fell through right before the invasion.

The supplies will bring support to civilians in Ukraine who need it most.

"There are volunteers at the borders. They spread it out throughout the cities, even to the very dangerous areas. We have drivers dedicated to doing that," he said

Charest and church members hope these donations will give civilians strength and be a light during these dark days of war.

"We, the Ukrainian community here, realize just knowing people are caring for us and our people was a big pick-me-up and it gave us a little more strength. A lot of us have pride and angry and sad thoughts and to see the outpouring was helpful to us. We hope they get the same thing," Charest said.

"I hope that it shows them that someone else is out there that cares, that they are not alone. Also, they are coming hungry, without clothing, literally leaving home with maybe a carry-on, and they come into a strange place, knowing no one, language, this shows you're going to be OK. It's going to be tough, but you're going to be OK," Onufrey said.

The church's collections are coordinated with Nataliya European Food Market in Squirrel Hill. The owners ship the boxes to New York City, where the items are then flown to Poland before being dispersed throughout Ukraine.

They will load up a truck on Monday. This will be the church's second shipment.

Charest said needs change daily, so the supplies they're accepting change often. All collections of items are on hold until the current items ship. Monetary donations can still be made.

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