Couriers deliver 12,500 pounds of humanitarian aid to Ukraine

It has been almost seven months since the war in Ukraine broke out, killing thousands and displacing millions.
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 10:16 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 12:35 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It has been almost seven months since the war in Ukraine broke out, killing thousands and displacing millions.

As the conflict continues, a network of volunteers has continued to answer the call, providing aid to the Ukrainian military effort, making it their mission to deliver life-saving equipment and supplies.

Though the country of Ukraine is 5,300 miles away from Charleston, South Carolina, Przemyslaw “Shem” Murczkiewicz felt the pain of the conflict as if it was in his own backyard.

“Whatever happens over there, it affects us... and we see what the Russians do, the domination and disregard for minorities,” he said. “Destroying democracy not only for their own country but destroying democracy all over the world.”

Murczkiewicz, a Polish native, was the first courier from the group CHS4Ukraine to deliver much-needed supplies to the Ukrainian front lines.

The packing list included first aid kits, tourniquets, bulletproof vests and even hand warmers.

Volunteers found the most effective way to get supplies into the country was to fly to Poland themselves, where volunteers would then take the supplies over the border, Anna Spann with CHS4Ukraine explained.

The group has also coordinated supply deliveries via plane as well.

“It gave me wings,” Murczkiewicz said. “I’m very proud of it.”

More have followed in his footsteps, including Kenneth Marolda and Dariusz Pytel.

They helped pack the first suitcases and were next in line to go.

“I’m not running over there with a rifle, that’s not going to help anyone; but this will,” Marolda said.

Since the start of the conflict 25 couriers, or someone who transports supplies, have made the three-leg trip to Poland, beginning in Charleston with a layover in Amsterdam.

Each time carrying eight to 10 suitcases packed to the limit.

Spann estimates that they have been able to transport 12,500 pounds of humanitarian aid supplies.

“It’s humbling to get a message from somebody across the world saying, ‘thank you for saving my life’ and all we can say is, ‘you’re welcome’,” Spann said.

Spann most recently visited in August. The trips also included visits to nearby shelters for refugees including one run by the Nidaros Foundation.

Though fatigue has grown over time, they believe their work remains as important as ever.

As they recalled their time overseas, they each held a sunflower as a symbol of support and resistance. A small beacon of light during dark times.

“We have to help, we have to be alert because it’s not over yet,” Pytel said.

In their mission, they share one wish, for the conflict to end soon.

But even when that may happen, help will still be needed to rebuild and they will be ready to answer the call.

If you are interested in donating to CHS4Ukraine, click here.