KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In Ukraine, and in the countries that border the now war-ravaged country, scenes of hope are hidden by the darkness of death, destruction and displacement.
But if you know where to look, the hope is there, and some of it comes from a Lenexa organization.
Emily Schmidt was on the ground at several border crossings as Ukrainian refugees sought safety in Romania, Moldova and Poland.
“I feel like I should always be out there doing something,” Schmidt told FOX4.
“I think for me the most impactful images are of some of the older people who were really struggling with the idea of leaving their homes forever and leaving their sons and brothers and husbands behind.”
Schmidt works for Heart to Heart International and has traveled as part of the crew to assess needs in Ukraine and during refugee layovers. The organization sent about $20 million worth of medical supplies to Ukraine soon after Russian forces invaded the country.
“Their healthcare system was going to be very fractured when it came to drugs and medical supplies,” said Kim Carroll, CEO of Heart to Heart.
There are still nearly 40 million people in Ukraine despite the war, according to Kim Carroll, CEO of Heart to Heart.
Ukrainians need medical care, but hospitals are struggling to get the supplies they need. That’s why Heart to Heart spent over half a million dollars to get 52 pallets of donated supplies into the country as quickly as possible.
“It was mostly things that we all know and take ourselves. Blood pressure meds, diabetes meds, we’ve added a number of surgical supplies – bandages, gauze, things that are needed for more open wounds, obviously, because there’s a lot of injuries. All the basics people need to stay healthy,” Carroll explained.
The organization works with a number of manufacturers to donate medicines and other supplies, and FedEx is one of its partners that offers discounts on shipping supplies worldwide.
The organization continues its humanitarian assistance in the rest of the world, in addition to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which presents unique challenges.
“Even once the product arrives in Europe, it’s not easy to get it by truck to Ukraine, so we’re very grateful to the brave people and partners who do this,” Carroll said. “Our very first shipment was to go to a place very close to where Lviv was bombed.”
But shipping to areas that desperately need it is what Heart to Heart has been doing for 30 years. The organization has shipped to over 135 countries, and when someone is in need, they can count on Heart to Heart medicine, and the generous people and businesses that support them.
“It is humbling and we are so grateful for the support that made it all possible. It’s an incredibly generous community,” Carroll said.
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