Omaha family gathers supplies, donations to support Ukrainians in need

WOWT 6 News 10 p.m. Sunday newscast
Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Believe it or not, the Omaha community is helping support hundreds of Ukrainians in need as the Russian invasion into the country continues.

For Jon Driscoll, his connection to Ukraine runs deep.

“My wife’s from Ukraine, we were married in Ukraine, all of our friends and family are in Ukraine still, and my children are adopted from Ukraine,” he tells 6 News.

Watch the conflict unfold has been devastating. The last time they were in the country was just days before the pandemic began in 2020.

Driscoll says they haven’t had any family members killed, but they have lost several very close friends.

“It’s very frustrating to watch, it’s very frustrating to watch a lot of the places we know and a lot of the places we’ve visited be destroyed just in a moment,” he says.

In 2017, Jon and his wife began One Child Inc., a non-profit organization based in Ukraine that supports orphans, women and children in the country.

Now, the mission of the non-profit is shifting.

“We started using that network to get people to safety, get people out of Ukraine that could leave or wanted to leave, the other side of that is the people that can’t leave, the people that are sheltering in place, we’re helping get supplies to and helping them stay safe locally.”

So far, they’ve helped 372 people escape the country, and they’re supporting 550 people with supplies and resources as they shelter in place.

They raised enough funds to purchase a $10,000 van that seats 10 people to help transport people and supplies.

All of this was made possible with the help of generous Nebraskans.

“Omaha’s been just absolutely fantastic in helping us gather supplies and everything we need, pay for shipping on the boxes going out, and helping us pay for gas for our drivers in Ukraine. It’s just been phenomenal.”

For the drivers who are risking their safety, Driscoll’s organization was able to purchase 24 bulletproof vests.

But the conflict is far from over, and Driscoll says donations made here in Omaha will make it on the ground inside Ukraine to help hundreds.

Physical supplies are incredibly impactful, he says, but monetary donations go a long way, too.

“We can wire money in 30 minutes, and we’ve probably filled up 200 tanks of gas, and that’s making a difference.”

In about 30 days, he says they’ve spent around $30,000 to help drivers pay for gas.

Driscoll accepts donations at Covenant Presbyterian Church on 150th & Blondo every Friday from 11a.m. to 2p.m.

On Saturday, April 23 from 9a.m. to 11a.m., they’ll host a packing party to send dozens of boxes to Ukraine.

Physical donations they’re asking for are diapers, powdered baby formula, feminine hygiene products, socks, shoes and all clothing for adults and children.

Click here for more information on where you can donate monetary funds to.

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