COLORADO SPRINGS — As the war continues, a local nonprofit organization is raising money to send non-lethal equipment to Ukrainians who are fighting the war.
The nonprofit is called “Fight Back for Ukraine.” So far, they've donated more than $100,000 in supplies to soldiers and citizen soldiers. The war is a battle many people still face seven months after it began, and for a local Ukrainian, the donation effort means so much.
“I feel what happened with Ukraine is literally terrible,” said Alex Belanchuk, a local who lived in Ukraine for more than 30 years.
Belanchuk said he hasn't heard from his family in Ukraine since the war began in February.
“Because who knows what happened? Maybe they destroyed the town completely, maybe they survived, maybe the moved somewhere. I don't have any clue,” said Belanchuk.
Belanchuk says seven months after Russia invaded Ukraine, his homeland still needs help and support from others.
“These people need help now, not tomorrow,” said Belanchuk.
Help has come from Fight Back for Ukraine. The local non-profit which is also based in Geneva, Switzerland, has carried out six delivery missions of surveillance drones, metal detectors and thermal imaging equipment. They’ve also supplied food and medical supplies like trauma kits.
“Our mission is very simple. We hope to keep the Ukrainian soldiers safe and alive,” said Elfego Gomez, the co-founder of the organization.
Gomez says the non-lethal equipment they're donating is a big part of combat in Ukraine and soldiers defending their country against Russia.
“At night, they can go and be able to see if somebody's out there, and then also use metal detectors for looking for mines,” said Gomez.
The nonprofit has also received ‘thank you’ videos from Ukranian soldiers receiving the equipment.
“Thank you very much for your help in saving the lives of our soldiers,” said a person in one video.
“This has been very helpful, but it is not yet enough,” said a person in a different video.
Seven months later, and Gomez said the help is needed now more than ever.
“In February and March, and certainly in the early April, the war for many people was in the forefront. Yet the suffering is no different now than it was back then. In fact, it might be worse because now the Russians are just simply leveling cities,” said Gomez.
While some people may have forgotten about the war, many like Belanchuk and the nonprofit founders haven’t. They say any help goes a long way.
“People from Ukraine need help right now, not tomorrow, not next month. I’m talking about food, water, weapons, friendly conversation, something small, and the small things give people a chance to survive,” said Belanchuk.
Fight back for Ukraine has held big fundraising efforts at local restaurants. They'll be holding another fundraiser in November, with hopes they can carry out another delivery mission in October. So far, they’ve donated 67 drones, 27 metal detectors, and 27 thermal imaging binoculars.
For more information about Fight Back for Ukraine, click here.
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