Ukraine War: Rotary International raises $9M in humanitarian aid

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A member of Rotary International who made it out of Ukraine to Chicago speaks of his journey and conditions on the ground as the brutal war rages on.

In just seven weeks since the war in Ukraine began, the organization has raised millions of dollars for humanitarian aid.

READ MORE | Latest updates, stories on Ukraine

Hennaddii Kroichyk said the combat situation in western Ukraine's Lviv is relatively "calm."

"We have three rocket attacks on our city but it does not cause the casualties of civilians," Kroichyk said.

That's what calm is; three recent rocket attacks, but no casualties. Kroichyk, a member of the service organization Rotary International, just arrived this week in Chicago traveling first to Poland by bus.

"I decided to go with the bus of refugees. I was interested in how they are treated by our neighbors," he said.
And he was amazed at their warm and open welcome.

"Starting from the border, they are provided with food, with SIM cards, with power banks, even with toys for children," he said.

His journey ended in Chicago, where he updated hundreds of Rotary members on the dire situation in Ukraine.

Kroichyk said when he first saw Ukrainian flags along Michigan Avenue, the first ones he'd seen since leaving Lviv, his heart was filled with appreciation for the efforts underway right here in the US to help his people.

"It's just been extraordinarily heartwarming to see the outpouring of support from rotarians around the world for Ukraine," said John Hewko, Rotary International CEO.

Hewko, a Ukranian-American himself, said the organization has raised $9 million for aid since the war began.

"That money is now being dispersed to our rotarians in Ukraine, in the frontline countries in other parts of the world to help Ukrainian displaced persons," Hewko said.

The Chicago Rotary chapter partnering with the Ukranian Medical Organization of North America to source supplies and deliver them from O'Hare to Poland to Ukraine.

"It's almost a reflex that we see a tragedy taking place and then ok, what are we going to do, let's get started," said Marga Hewko, Rotary Club of Chicago president.

It's a call to service that continues.

"I feel the support from all the world," Kroichyk said.
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