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Novato Researcher, Winemaker Team Up to Aid Ukraine Humanitarian Efforts

NOVATO (KPIX) -- While the war in Ukraine continues, people around the Bay Area are uniting to help in any way they can. In Novato, a Ukrainian doctor and a local business are both finding ways pitch in from afar.

Originally from Ukraine, Olga Bielska is a scientist at Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato. She is thousands of miles away from home but knew she had to do something to help. Bielska came up with the idea to collect medical supplies then put the word out and donations started pouring in.

"We have a lot wounded. It's not just soldiers but civilians and children. Doctors are really stretched out and they need the help," Bielska explained. She has been overwhelmed by the community response.

The same generosity can be found at Trek Winery in downtown Novato. Trek is selling hundreds of cases of its Chardonnay and donating 100% of the profits to help refugees crossing the border into Poland.

"We see the TV, we see the reports and our heart goes out to everyone of this people and the children and the lives that are lost and we want to help any way we can," Trek owner Andy Podshadley said.

The money will be donated to World Central Kitchen, where chefs on the frontlines are feeding those trying to escape the crisis in their home country.

While there is unity here, Bielska says there is a tremendous amount of division back home with relatives that live both in the Ukraine and in Moscow -- families torn apart by the war and what she calls the Russian propaganda.

"We basically don't talk anymore with those people that believe Ukrainians are bad because you see now how Russians are bombing the cities, they're bombing the hospitals, they're bombing the kindergartens, they're targeting specifically and it's not a mistake," Bielska said.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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