'They don’t have any water or food': Local nonprofit helps orphaned kids in Ukraine

Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 17:16:09-05

WARREN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Caught in the middle of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine are children.

“It's horrific. It’s just awful right now,” Vera Petrusha said.

Petrusha runs a nonprofit in metro Detroit to support orphaned Ukrainian children. She says group homes had to quickly escape to a safer part of Ukraine, leaving behind everything but the clothes on their backs.

“I got a call today from a friend in the Kharkiv area that kids are in bunkers and they don’t have any water or food,” Petrusha said.

They're also lacking diapers and hygiene products. So, Petrusha posted on social media asking for help and the community is responding.

“We got some diapers that came in and handy wipes,” said Bohdan Florchuk, who works at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren.

Florchuk says the community outpour of support has been overwhelming. In just one hour, boxes from the Warren Fire Department, St. Joseph Health System and Detroit Labs came pouring in.

The first shipment of donations left on Tuesday. The next will leave in a few days. The Ukrainian Children’s aid and relief effort will run March 21 through March 26 at the St. Mary’s the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Southfield. Organizers are asking for volunteers and donations.

“Getting flooded with people who are willing to come and help and do whatever they can with the packing and also the collection of items,” Petrusha said.

Local schools are also writing hand written notes of encouragement to children overseas. If you would like to help, email