KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In Ukraine, and in the countries that border the now war-ravaged country, scenes of hope are hidden by the darkness of death, destruction, and displacement.
But if you know where to look, hope is there, and some of it is coming from a Lenexa organization.
Emily Schmidt was on the ground at several border crossings as Ukrainian refugees sought safety in Romania, Moldova, and Poland.
“I feel like I should still be there and doing something,” Schmidt told FOX4.
“I think for me the most impactful images are those of some of the elderly people who were really struggling with the thought of leaving their home forever, and leaving their sons and brothers, and husbands behind.”
Schmidt works for Heart to Heart International and traveled as part of the crew assessing the needs in Ukraine and at refugee stops. The organization sent about $20 million worth of medical supplies into Ukraine shortly after the country was invaded by Russian forces.
“Their healthcare system was going to be very fractured with respect to medicines and medical supplies,” Heart to Heart CEO Kim Carroll said.
There are still nearly 40 million people in Ukraine despite the war, according to Kim Carroll, Heart to Heart’s CEO.
Ukrainians need medical care, but hospitals are struggling to get the supplies they need. That is why Heart to Heart spent more than half-a-million dollars to get 52 pallets of donated supplies into the country as quickly as possible.
“It was mostly things that we all know and take ourselves. Blood pressure medicine, diabetes medicines, we did add in quite a number of surgical supplies – bandages, gauzes, things that are needed for more open wounds, obviously, as there are a lot of people being injured. All the basics people need to stay healthy,” Carroll explained.
The organization works with a number of manufacturers to get the medicines and other supplies donated, and FedEx is one of its partners that offers discounts on shipping supplies around the world.
The organization is continuing its humanitarian aid throughout the rest of the world, on top of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which is presenting unique challenges.
“Even just once the product gets into Europe, it’s not an easy process to get it trucked into Ukraine, so we’re very grateful for the brave people and partners that are doing that,” Carroll said. “Our very first shipment was scheduled to go into a place very close to where Lviv was bombed.”
But shipping to areas that are in desperate need is what Heart to Heart has done for 30 years. The organization has shipped to over 135 countries, and when someone is in need, they can count on medicine from Heart to Heart, and the generous people and businesses that support it.
“It’s humbling and we’re very grateful for the support that made all of this possible. This is an incredibly generous community,” Carroll said.