Texans on a mission: Organization leading efforts to help Ukrainian refugees

KPRC 2′s Zach Lashway is the only Houston reporter on the ground in Eastern Europe, covering the crisis unfolding as Ukrainian refugees attempt to escape the country.

Approximately 20 miles away from Belarus, Lashway got an inside look at where all the heavy lifting took place while visiting humanitarian efforts funded by Texans.

These volunteers with Texas Baptist Men loaded a bus bound for an undisclosed Ukrainian city in need. A member of the Baptist Church donated a warehouse to the relief effort. People from all over the world, including Texas, pack and repack goods to be shipped to Ukraine and local shelters.

“It’s an example of unity, that you don’t see in every response,” said Robert Watson, a volunteer with Texas Baptist Men. “Just to see the commonality, of a focus of helping the Ukrainian people and the unity it brings across international and national lines, you don’t see it in every response.”

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On the other side, Peter Eisans, a Latvian resident, says his organization is donating goods to Ukrainians, including fuel.

“The combination of our emotions is very interesting,” he said. “It is fear and love, both.”

When asked if fear among those living in the Baltic states and here in Poland, Eisans wonders who will be next.

“Then this big war now, in Ukraine, and who will be next, Georgians said Ukraine and the Baltics, we are right there, for us to come here, we have to go through the corridor,” he said. “One highway, one railroad, if conflict starts in Baltics, planes will take it out five minutes, so we will be cut off so there is some kind of fear, found in historical reference.”

Of over 100 Baptist churches throughout Poland, more than half converted their places of worship into shelters.

“In our church, we made the decision to help them to the end of the war,” said Pastor Henryk Skrzpkowski. “Please God, give us the end of the war.”

The pastor tells Lashway that the effort underway at his church which benefits directly from Texans has helped more than 3,500 refugees to date.

To donate, click here.


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About the Authors:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.