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Hoosiers helping Ukrainians fleeing homeland amid conflict

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Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 18:46:41-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A Hoosier is back home after volunteering to help Ukrainians in Poland who have fled their country.

Brian Rund with the organization Cooking For Ukraine just spent a week there, where he prepared food for thousands of people a day.

He's part of a larger effort to help Ukrainians.

"We can't just sit by and do nothing. I really believe that whenever possible you should do what you can, where you can, when you can, with what you can," Rund said.

Many other Hoosiers are also stepping up to fill the need.

Alona Vitko is from Ukraine but moved to Indiana when she was 13. She has family members who are fighting in the war. She co-founded a non-profit organization called Indiana Supports Ukraine. She gathers supplies to send to Ukrainian refugees and sends supplies to Ukraine too.

"Even if we aren't fighting directly on the front lines, we are fighting indirectly by supporting people in Ukraine — and they need that," said Voitko.

Rund said the need in the region is still prevalent.

"I was in one of the World Central Kitchen tents and I saw this older couple probably in their 80s. It was just sad. They are just tired, you just see the despair. Their whole life has been taken away. No idea if they will get it back, or when, or who they will lose. It's awful," said Rund.

The food Rund prepared helped keep those who fled Ukraine full throughout the day. Rund said he took time off work to volunteer.

"I have a very comfortable American existence. I don't worry about where my next meal is going to come from. I don't worry about a missile coming through my roof," said Rund.

Voitko says her family and those still in Ukraine have a real fear of what is happening there.

"There are so many feelings that come up. There is anger, there is frustration, there is the anxiety, the sadness," said Voitko. "It's not going to be an easy war for Ukraine. It's not going to stop today. It's not going to stop tomorrow."