By DeJanay Booth

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (AP) — Donations intended to assist those both defending and fleeing Ukraine are pouring into a Metro Detroit warehouse.

Dozens of volunteers have been sorting, packing and shipping items ranging from diapers and feminine hygiene products to medical supplies and non-lethal personal protective gear since the beginning of the Russian invasion last month.

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“When you watch news and you see all those horrific acts that’s going on in Ukraine, you just feel helpless and depressed in a way,” said Nazarii Semchyshyn, who is helping to coordinate the effort. “But as soon as you start doing something, collecting things or donating, you feel better about yourself and you feel that you’re making a difference.”

Semchyshyn is with Standard Trucking, which is owned by a Ukrainian American who has allowed volunteers to use the logistics company’s warehouse and loading dock in the Detroit enclave of Hamtramck.

Two air shipments of about 3000 pounds each have been sent to Poland so far, said Semchyshyn, who expects an even bigger shipment to go out this weekend. All items are donated, as is the cost of the shipments, he said.

Phil Weipert brought a carful of blankets, courtesy of the Kiwanis Club chapter in South Lyon, Michigan, on Thursday.

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The group had the 100-150 blankets in storage, because hospitals and health-care facilities would not accept them due to the pandemic, said Weipert, who added that “we saw the news stories about children (in Ukraine) needing blankets to be covered from falling glass.”

Semchyshyn said the first donations started coming in late last month and were mainly supplied by those in the Ukrainian-American community. But once word started to spread, the donations came quickly, he said.

Rocky Raczkowski, a military veteran and former state legislator, was among those sorting and packing inside the vast warehouse on Thursday.

“I’m really heartened by the fact that so many people in metropolitan Detroit (are) pouring out so much to help the Ukrainian community,” he said.

The shipments are being sent to Poland, where the items will be redistributed, according to Semchyshyn, who said volunteers will keep at it “hopefully until the end of the conflict.”

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