LOCAL NEWS

Humanitarian volunteers organize effort to help Ukranian refugees

Mar 23, 2022, 7:48 PM | Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 8:52 pm

Utahns head to Romania in an effort to help Ukrainian refugees. Five out of these seven volunteers have already done this same kind of work with a Utah County group called Humanitize Expeditions.

They’ve organized this effort on their own… spending their own money to get to Romania, to help Ukranians start over.

The suitcases, filled with chapstick and shoe insoles are only a small part of what Erin McBride is doing.

“Think how far they’ve walked,” McBride said. “They need shoe inserts for their feet.”

They’re just some of the supplies, being requested for Ukranian refugees. But really, McBride says her group of seven are heading to Romania to provide some manpower.

“We had already made contact with this organization called Associatia Happy, or Happy Association in Romania, and learned that there was a need for more help there,” McBride said.

While Happy Association is gathering supplies… what they really need is help, getting refugees where they need to go.

Erin McBride Katie Walther

“Pick up these identified families at these shelters, and bring them across into Romania where they’ll spend a day or two at that shelter, and then we’ll take them onto the airport or a train station,” McBride said.

McBride said it was clear to herself and others, they need to do something.

Katie Walther is among them; former army nurse, who served in the first Gulf War.

“In a war situation, you either respond immediately, or you’ve missed the opportunity to help the people that are there,” Walther said.

And very quickly they say… the offers to send money and donations started pouring in.

“I don’t want my children or grandchildren to say, ‘why didn’t you do something?’ and that’s where humanitarian work becomes part of my life,” Walther said.

McBride said it all came together as they were planning another trip to Guataemala. They saw a charity overwhelmed… and there was no hesitation.

“We need to do it, because the world will always need people like us that can,” McBride said.

McBride says they’ll be spending a lot of money over there, on plane and train tickets for refugees, even rent.

There’s also the gas that it takes to get back and forth from the border, which she says costs almost double what we’re paying here per gallon.

Those interested can donate here.

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Humanitarian volunteers organize effort to help Ukranian refugees