Monroe County volunteers churn out tons of donations to Ukraine

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Volunteers working to get supplies to war-torn Ukraine celebrated their well-oiled aid machine Thursday as they cycled tons of essentials out for shipment.

“Men’s clothing, women’s clothing, snacks, snacks, towels,” rattled off Myron Kowal, volunteer manager of the Roc Maidan collection center in Webster. “Feminine hygiene, blankets. Sleeping bags. Sleeping bags are a big thing.”

As the people of Ukraine, fight for their country, the supplies keep coming into the collection center in Webster.

“The war is getting worse and worse,” Kowal said. “The more that’s revealed to us, the more stuff that we have to have.”

Organizers with the Ukrainian relief organization ROC Maidan say they’ve gotten this operation up to peak efficiency, shipping out one entire tractor-trailer load of desperately needed supplies to Ukraine every week.

The warehouse space, donated by Xerox, has become their lifeline to their friends or, in some cases, relatives, in a war zone.

The need is evident in the supplies they’re collecting: Medical goods, clothing, but also luggage, for the millions of Ukrainians the war has turned into refugees. And beds. Yes, beds.

“They bombed over 125 of our hospitals,” Kowal explained. “So, hospital beds are premium, we’d like those kind of things.”

“This war has been going on now for some time and it’s very easy to get numb to it,” noted Monroe County Executive Adam Bello who visited the facility Thursday to mark its success and service. “But the need still exists.”

Bello came out to show appreciation for the effort as local Ukrainians gave credit to their Rochester area neighbors who still step up to help.

“This is not the first war in the world,” Elena Dilai of Roc Maidan acknowledged. “And, for many people, this war is no different. For us, it’s very close to our hearts but we see the response from the community.”

ROC Maidan volunteers estimated they’ve managed to ship nine tons of supplies to Ukraine and they say they’ve gotten confirmation their aid shipments have arrived where they are needed.