By Augostina Mallous
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine forcing millions of Ukrainians to defend their homeland in a brutal war, the group Ukrainian Americans of Long Island is holding weekly supply drives, with a focus now on medical supplies to aid the injured.
Halyna Fenchenko, a UALI member and supply drive organizer, said many people in Ukraine are not scared, despite the horrid war crimes taking place there. They, however, desperately need medical supplies. “Many people are getting injured and do not have the proper supplies to care for their injuries right now,” Fenchenko said.
Bandages and antibiotic ointments for wound care are in high demand.
Supply drives are held every Wednesday and Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m at St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Center in Uniondale and St. Michael’s Ukrainian Center in Hempstead. Donations are packaged and then shipped to Poland, where they are then transported to Ukrainians through Ukraine’s mail services.
See a list of the most-needed supplies at the bottom of this story.
“Aside from medical supplies, Ukrainians need work boots and bulletproof vests,” said Fenchenko, who has two cousins now fighting in Lviv, in Western Ukraine.
“My mother, my brothers, my cousins and nieces are all there right now,” Fenchenko said. She keeps in contact with her relatives in Ukraine every day, but is worried that she may not be able to for much longer.
“Can you imagine working so hard to build a beautiful home, a business and create a family to then see it all destroyed because of a crazy war?” Fenchenko asked. In some Ukrainian towns, every building has been damaged, and some buildings have been destroyed down to the ground.
Volodymyr Tsyalkovsky, UALI’s community liaison, began the organization three years ago to unify Ukrainian communities across Long Island. “Now, more than ever before, UALI’s mission of unity is intensified as Ukrainian Americans come together to support our homeland,” he said.
Tsyalkovsky is meeting with local government officials to take further action in the organization’s crisis aid efforts, but he emphasized that much can be done by and in the community. “We need resources and we need our Long Island community to help us get those resources,” he said.
On March 2, LNK International Inc. in Hauppauge donated 5,614 pounds of medications to UALI’s supply drive. The nation’s largest pharmaceutical company for over-the-counter medications delivered products like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium to Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in West Islip.
Olga Karolkova, a Ukrainian American who works for the company, initiated the conversation with the company after speaking with her relatives in Ukraine. “I just asked my boss to see if we could donate a box or two,” Karolkova said. “I did not foresee that the company would end up donating so much product.”
“We cannot express our gratitude enough for the support we have received so far,” Fenchenko said tearfully. “I hope this inspires others in the community to donate because Ukraine really needs the help.”
UALI is collecting tactical and medical supplies, including:
- Backpacks, 10 x 19 x 14
- Bandage Strips, 1”x3”
- Big Cinch Abdominal Bandage
- Burn Aid — water gel burn dressing, 4×16 or 4×4
- Butterfly Strips
- Cervical Collar
- CPR Mask
- Cravat Bandage (CamoVat)
- Dynarex Medi-cut Sterile Disposable Scalpels #10
- Emergency Compression Bandages (Israeli Battle Dressing)
- EMT Shears
- Eye Wash, 4 oz
- IV Catheter, 18 G or 20 G or 22 G
- Medical Adhesive tape rolls, 2–3 inches
- Multi Trauma Dressings, 12”x30”
- Pain Relievers — Ibuprofen / Acetaminophen
- Pair of Tweezers
- Safety Pins
- Stainless Steel Hemostats
- Sutures needle, size 6
- IV Starter Kits
- Tongue Depressors
- Triple Antibiotic Ointment, full size
“The soldiers fighting are our heroes,” Fenchenko said. “You would be helping them and their families to survive.”
St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Center is full of supplies that were donated by the community.