Houston-area restaurants and organizations raise money, donate supplies for Ukraine relief

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- We have all seen the heartbreaking images and stories unfolding in Ukraine.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb.24 more than 13,000 people have died. More than two million people have fled their homeland.

ABC13 viewers have been asking what can they do to help refugees.

For the past 25 years, Medical Bridges has worked with hospitals in the Texas Medical Center to gather excess medical supplies to send to countries in crisis.

Volunteers at the nonprofit have packed and loaded $33,000 worth of Band-Aids, gauze, tape and other items to Ukraine where they are caring for refugees who are sick and injured.

"We all are aware of what's going on in the Ukraine," said marketing manager Claudette Ferro. "Medical bridges has been very responsive to the crisis. We're working with HTX Ukraine to send medical supplies needed at the moment."

Ferro says they are sending items that are needed for emergency room and trauma situations for immediate care.

"The plan is to get all of these medical supplies into Poland and from there make its way to the places that need it," Ferro said.

If Houstonians are unable to donate financially, Ferro said they can certainly use your time.

"You can register to volunteer at Medical Bridge's website and all donations are welcomes and will be put to good use." Ferro said.

In southwest Houston, The Shul of Bellaire has pledged to raise more than $25,000. The money will assist the rabbis and their wives in Ukraine who are on the ground and on the front lines helping Ukrainian refugees leaving their homeland with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

"The Shul of Bellaire Branch of the global Chabad Lubavitch movement. We have about 3,500 centers all over the world, over 35 Jewish centers just in Ukraine," Rabbi Yossi Zakilkofsky said. "The men and women, Jewish leaders are literally convincing people to get on to a bus to get going and move out of harm's way. In many cases, they're paying for tickets for people's transportation literally saving lives."

Zakilkofsky says they have already raised half of their goal in less than one day.

"You can make your contribution and rest assured every single dollar donated will go directly to the people who are saving lives on the ground," Zakilkofsky said.

Nina Quincy, the director of operations for Underbelly Hospitality, said she's doing her part to help Ukrainians in crisis. On Wednesday afternoon, she's headed to Poland to help feed hungry refugees.

Quincy will be part of the relief team on the ground with World Central Kitchen providing meals in response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. They will be serving hundreds and thousands of fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing their homeland and feeding those who remain in the country.

She says here at home when patrons dine at Georgia James, Georgia James Tavern and Wild Oats restaurants this week, your money will go to those in need.

"Thursday, Saturday and Sunday this week, and 100% of all of our beverage sales for all those restaurants will be going World Central Kitchen," said Quincy.

"You're watching all of the refugees pouring across the border. One day they went to bed. They had just dined at their favorite restaurant on the corner and gotten a coffee before work and sent their kids off to school and the very next day, everything they knew about their life is gone," says Quincy. "It's even worse because they may not have anything come back to they may not even be able to rebuild because their country is gone for good."

Quincy says she will be in Poland for a week.

"The one thing that they're offering right now is the food. You're not going to worry about where you're eating. I think that that's a big thing. One thing that we can help." said Quincy.

To donate your time or money, click on the links below:

Medical Bridges

The Shul of Bellaire: Stand with Ukraine

World Central Kitchen
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