NewsPinellas County


St. Pete Ukrainian church boxes up thousands of items to send to Ukraine

Local leaders helping with visa process
Posted at 4:39 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 17:23:18-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Petersburg community is stepping up to help out the people of Ukraine. From sending supplies to navigating immigration rules, people in the Tampa Bay area are making sure Ukrainians know they’re cared about even from half a world away.

The Epiphany of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church in St. Petersburg has filled up 20 pallets with 170 boxes containing more than 50,150+ supplies of baby items, first aid kits, pet care items and hygiene supplies.


They are also collecting monetary donations to ship the boxes to Ukraine and Poland.

It comes as Congressman Charlie Crist's office also steps in to help. His staff visited the church on Thursday, March 10 to answer questions about visas and obtaining refugee status for those with family members in Ukraine who hope to be able to come to the United States.

Kate Spodin and her family were there to listen to the presentation and figure out their options. Spodin is doing her best to be tough for her children even though she doesn't know when she will see her husband, her parents, her brother and his family next.

“We need to be strong here and crying does not help at all," she said.

Spodin brought her five sons, who range in age from 10-16, and her 1-year-old daughter to St. Petersburg back in January for education opportunities. She never imagined that her country would be at war a few months later.

Spodin family

"We will be thankful until the end of our days for what everyone who stayed in Ukraine is doing right now. They're risking their lives and protecting the freedom of our nation,” she added.

The Spodin family has a community standing up with them. They are helping alongside the dozens of volunteers who are packing up and sending supplies.

Each box is sealed with a handwritten letter and a sticker that says "with love from Tampa."


Paul Bianco and his wife are among the volunteers. "We want to make sure that they know that there’s people out there in the world that love them and care for them and hope they get back on their feet," he said. Bianco has no ties to Ukraine but felt in his heart that he wanted to do more to help.

“We are so thankful and so grateful and this is something we never would have expected," Spodin explained.

United States leaders are also working to pass a Supplemental Funding Bill of $13 billion to help the Ukrainian residents fund weapons, supplies and bolster medical needs.

Olya Czerkas volunteers at Epiphany of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church and is part of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America and she said her two organizations will continue to help find ways to support the people of Ukraine. “These people left Ukraine with nothing in hand. They left with their babies and maybe one box that they could carry. We feel it was very important for us to help them in any way," she added.