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Florida women unite to help people of Ukraine

Thousands of products being shipped to Europe following women's efforts
Summer Faerman & Brittney Suarez, Boca Raton women helping Ukraine
Posted at 11:21 AM, Mar 08, 2022

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Three women from Palm Beach County have come together to help victims impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Mariya Kemper-Reiss, a Ukrainian American living in Boca Raton, and a member of Temple Beth El, had access to a plane to get resources and items to Ukraine.

RELATED: Crisis in Ukraine: here's how you can help

She is heartbroken about what is happening to her home country.

"I went through all the stages of anxiety, anger and extreme heartbreak, that you go through these emotions," Kemper-Reiss said. "It's just beyond belief sometimes that something like this could be happening."

Mariya Kemper-Reiss
Mariya Kemper-Reiss moved to the U.S. from Ukraine in 1989.

She and her family were political refugees who left the Soviet Union in 1989 with thousands of other Jewish Ukrainians.

Many of her family and friends she grew up with still live in Ukraine.

"I was part of a very serious ballet program," Kemper-Reiss said. "The girls that I spent days, hours and months with, they're still there in Kyiv and under constant bombardment."

To help Ukraine, she and two other women came together to aid in the relief efforts with the connections and launched an online registry.

Summer Faerman, helping Ukraine
Summer Faerman

Summer Faerman, director of the TLC Program at B'nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton, has helped mobilize efforts, creating a list of needed products on Amazon and working within the community.

"Having an Amazon Wish List means, that someone can simply look down the list, figure out what is within their budget, push a button and say, 'I know I've helped somebody,'" Faerman said.

With the help of a third woman, Brittney Suarez of Boca Raton of Grace Church, thousands of products are on their way to Ukraine.

"We also have things on there that are like Ibuprofen and Advil, very general over-the-counter, everyday medications that they need and can't get right now," Suarez said.

Ukraine refugees, March 7, 2022
Refugees wait in a crowd for transportation after fleeing from Ukraine and arriving at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Monday, March 7, 2022. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee to safety Sunday were forced to shelter from Russian shelling that pummeled cities in Ukraine's center, north and south.

Members of the community can still help those in need.

How You Can Help

  • Click here to see a list of items on Amazon
  • Choose the items that you would like to send to Ukraine
  • Be sure to pick "UkrPoshta Dnipro LLC/Humanitarian Aid" in the Amazon ship to drop down 

UkrPoshta, Ukraine's national postal service, partnered with groups to launch a humanitarian air bridge between Ukraine and the U.S.

A direct flight from New York to Warsaw, Poland, will fulfill logistics and deliveries between Warsaw and Lviv, as well as other Ukrainian cities and villages.

The first flight is planned for March 9 from New York.

The organization plans to fly every five days thereafter.

Items items donated for Ukraine are being stored at a New Jersey warehouse, March 7, 2022
Items that are being donated are being stored at a warehouse in New Jersey before being flown overseas to help those impacted by the war in Ukraine.

Kemper-Reiss is currently at a warehouse in New Jersey, where they donated their space, to store all the donations that will be flown to Europe.

"From Poland, the Ukrainian Postal Service will be delivering all of these supplies to the places where they can still deliver," Kemper-Reiss said.

B'nai Torah Congregation is supporting the ongoing humanitarian needs of the people of Ukraine by donating a portion of every ticket sold for the Music for Humanity: 2022 Concert Series to the Jewish Federation.

The first of four benefit concerts will be held March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at B'nai Torah Congregation.