ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — This week will mark one year since Russia started a war with Ukraine. Since then, Roc Maidan has been working non-stop to counter their aggression with donations for those fighting and living in the war zones, all thanks to money from people of the Greater Rochester Area.
What started as gathering funds online to send to family and charities in their homeland has blossomed into Roc Maidan needing a warehouse to sort through all the first-aid kits, hospital beds, and even ambulances to ship to Ukraine as the country gets ready to enter a second year of the war.
One of Roc Maidan’s volunteers coordinating many fundraisers is Irene Burke. When looking back on how far their cause has come to help Ukraine, she’s amazed at Rochester’s generosity.
“Never would we have imagined that this is where we would be,” Burke said. “That so many people would have responded to our call to help us. Every day we continue to be overwhelmed by the support, the love.”
Their latest fundraiser was held at the Lovin-Cup offering raffles, silent auctions, and pro-Ukraine merchandise with donations. Some in attendance had no ties to Ukraine but knew they could make a difference in the fight for democracy.
“We’ve been following this ever since day one and I’m not going to say it hits home because I’m not from Ukraine,” U.S Navy Veteran Jeff Riales told us. “But I think all of us who served know what it’s all about. Support their effort.”
“Every one of us can do a little something,” Doreen Riales added. “Just even small things like coming to events like this. Supporting people, buying merchandise from them if it goes over to Ukraine, everyone should do this.”
Those in attendance with Ukrainian heritage feel a roller coaster of emotions looking back on the past 12 months of this war dragging on. But as long as their cause stays alive thanks to donations from Rochester, they feel confident Ukraine can fight on to win.
“Ukraine is fighting for democracy, they’re on the forefront of the war, they want a democracy and to be part of the European Union,” Michael Wasylko said. “Here in America, we take things for granted and elections are coming up, so we don’t know where momentum is going to go.”
With the money raised tonight, Roc Maidan hopes to send it out with their next shipment of supplies by the first weekend in March. If you weren’t able to make it out there are always ways to donate online to Roc Maidan 24/7 and receive Pro-Ukraine gear. To donate click here.
This Friday will mark one year exactly since Russia invaded Ukraine. The St. Josaphat’s Catholic Church is hosting a prayer service that night at 6:00 pm to honor those lost in the and displaced by the war.