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Help for Ukrainian refugees in Poland has arrived from Santa Barbara via ShelterBox USA

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Ukrainian refugees are getting help from Santa Barbara County. Non-profit ShelterBox USA has boots on the ground in Poland with aid from the South Coast.

The United Nations estimates two million Ukrainians have fled their country since the Russian invasion started, and more are still leaving.

Kerri Murray, ShelterBox USA’s president, said, “This is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. And it’s getting worse every day.”

That’s why Murray is leading a team in Poland, bringing aid to those refugees.

“People are again exhausted and they’re just looking at what’s going to be their next step,” said Murray. 

Six people from ShelterBox are in Poland right now assessing the need for household supplies, wipes, diapers, blankets, mattresses and warm clothing.

“Fifty percent have fled here to Poland. And so ten to twenty thousand people a day, [Przemyśl] is their first stop at this train station.”

The non-profit said most of those showing up are women, children and the elderly. They met one mom who showed up with her 10-year-old son after leaving her husband and 22-year-old son behind to stay and fight.

“It took her five days to travel,” recalls Murray. “She went by foot. She went by bus. Then she went by train. And she didn’t know what her next steps were. And I said what are your needs, what are the priorities that you need right now. And she said I need a place to sleep and I also need a shower. And I’m not sure which one I need first.”

Murray said donations are critical to continue helping Ukrainian refugees. If you’d like to donate to ShelterBox you can do so on their website

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Scott Sheahen

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