“Relieve the crisis. Thoughtfully. With discipline and heart. Now.”

Principle #5 – Let the inspiration of friends bring out the best in you.

It’s been a year since Putin and his soldiers invaded Ukraine. The war has decimated Ukraine and hurt and killed many innocent Ukrainians. Our Ukrainian friends need our help. We, and our friends, Barbara and Kevin Gunning, are hosting a URI/KDU fundraising event at a San Diego winery on Sunday, March 12, from 2:00 pm- 5:00 pm. Koi Zen Cellars in Carmel Mountain – 12225 World Trade Dr. Ste. P, San Diego, CA 92128. Check out our video invitation, https://youtu.be/vNnAhoebrII. We will have entertainment, a silent auction, and, of course, wine! Come and join us…we can’t wait to see you!

People often ask me why and how I got involved with Ukraine Relief Initiative and KDU. Here’s my story:

In March 2022, my friend, Matt McKissock, asked us to come to Poland to meet these amazing eight humans that had begun to join Ukrainian refugees with host families in the Dębniki District of Kraków. The host families provided shelter, food, warmth, safety, and support at the heart level. These women and children had left their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons to fight for their motherland against the invasion of the Russian forces. The woman arrived tired, scared, and worried for their family’s survival. I knew we needed to meet these dedicated people.

In April 2022, we met the Kocham Dębniki Foundation (KDU). And in three short months, we established the Świetlica (common room) Community Center for these women and children fleeing Ukraine. We knew we were supporting the right Polish group because genuine care and tangible life services were available for our Ukrainian guests. The well-functioning and heart-warming community center was staffed by Ukrainian women who had a deep connection with their fellow Ukrainians and their shared situation. Psychotherapy sessions, Polish and English classes, daycare, and a pantry with personal products were available to all that visited the community center. Goods and services were funded and supplied by Polish, American, British, Australian, and many other kind-hearted people worldwide.

We visited again in December 2022 and saw the Świetlica Community Center operating at full capacity and in the middle of creating a Christmas celebration for the children, complete with gifts and a visit from Santa. Happily, the community center is thriving, as are many Ukrainian families, because people reached deeply into their own hearts to generously give to these women and children that have reluctantly left their own country to create a safe and secure life for their families. The needs are immense, and the 2023 plans are to expand the community center to double the number of families served.

I am honored to participate with my Kocham Dębniki and Ukraine Relief Initiative colleagues to love and assist our Ukrainian friends as they improve their life circumstances. I have never seen people give of themselves for a sustained period to create a better life for others that are not their blood relatives or even known to them. Nor have I ever experienced a team of people setting aside their egos and freely giving their individual gifts and talents to a common cause and accomplishing so much in such a short time.

Their inspired vision and quick actions created a perfect spot for me to join them. I am humbled, grateful, and inspired by their dedication and service. I am a better person for knowing each one of them.

Thank you, my friends and family, for your donations to make the vision of this community center a reality. A “thank you” doesn’t seem to be enough. Your empathy toward these Ukrainian families has touched me deeply. We couldn’t do what we do without your compassion and support. Thank you for being in my circle of light! Be positive and stay safe. #lovewins #peaceforukraine

Friends for Life,


All contributions are fully tax-deductible through HCC, our registered 501(c)(3) passthrough charity.

Make your check payable to **Hispanic Community Council** – (VERY IMPORTANT: not to Ukraine Relief Initiative) and send it to the following address:

c/o John Kersey
208 Liberty Street
Warren, PA 16365

Please indicate “Ukrainian Relief Initiative” in the check memo and include a note with your contact info (address, phone, email).

Use this link: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=WMYJHS9UVMWY2. PayPal goes through the “Hispanic Community Council,” our 501(c)3 passthrough organization.
In the memo, please include your name, address, phone #, and email so we can process your tax receipt.

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