More and more Charlotteans are stepping up their efforts to help Ukrainian refugees after the Russian invasion.
CHARLOTTE, NC — The people of Charlotte are now part of the humanitarian aid for refugees from Ukraine and more and more residents are sharing their efforts to show their support.
Iryna Amiramova, an ER registered nurse in the Charlotte area, is returning to Poland.
“It’s still war in Ukraine, and the refugees still need help,” she said.
Amiramova, who was born in Ukraine, moved to the United States 10 years ago. The group of volunteers she joined recently completed a three-week stay at a camp that takes care of the medical needs of refugees in Poland. For her next trip at the end of April, she plans to ride in an ambulance with one of her volunteer partners.
“We will evacuate people from anywhere in Ukraine,” she explained. “So my partner is in Poland right now. They are going to Kyiv or central Ukraine, where they can bring people in and evacuate them as quickly as possible.”
RELATED: 24-Hour Shifts | Charlotte RN among volunteers helping Ukrainian refugees in Poland
His group has also opened a small field hospital 15 minutes from the Ukraine-Poland border.
According to United Nations Refugee Agency, more than 4.5 million Ukrainians have left the country since the Russian invasion in February. As of April 9, almost 2.6 million refugees have found themselves in Poland.
“It’s on Ukrainian territory,” Amiramova said. “It’s for people who can’t cross the border or don’t want to cross the border.”
An Amazon giveaway page was created for anyone who wants to contribute to Amiramova’s group.
A local chef is also planning to visit Poland in June.
“In my belly, I just want to do whatever I can to help these people in a small way,” Robert “Ernie” Adler mentioned.
Adler is raising money for World Central Kitchen via a GoFundMe page and will volunteer by cooking with the non-profit organization.
“What they do is they go to war zones and hurricane zones…they set up a mobile kitchen right away, sometimes before a hurricane happens and they bring all the logistics,” he explained. “They’ll actually go to local restaurants so they don’t have to worry about bringing stoves and ovens and all that stuff. So they’re helping to keep those restaurants going.”
Adler told WCNC Charlotte that the situation in Ukraine was close to home.
“Generations ago, many of my ancestors came from the Kyiv region or from Russia as well,” he added. “Actually, during my studies at university, I studied Russia and Russian history, so I always had an affinity with a part of the world. And in the last 40 years, I just followed politics and history.”
Adler said he wants to help in any way he can, no matter how small.
“If you’re a refugee getting off a train or a bus and the only things you have are what’s in your suitcase or on your back…and if you can go to a facility and get a home-cooked meal and it’s warm…at least they’ve got some sunshine that day in their lives,” he said.
RELATED: Want to help Ukrainians? Consider donating to these charities