SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A local woman with family in Ukraine has launched a "direct impact" campaign to help refugees that have escaped the violence.
For Natalie Heredia, watching the images of the Russian invasion is painful.
“I really can’t watch, because it's heartbreaking,” said Heredia.
Heredia, who is half-Ukrainian, has many family members in the country, including grandparents and cousins in central and western Ukraine, where the situations are calmer. Still, they are nervous.
“They try not to worry us, but the reality is they're terrified. I know they're scared because tomorrow just isn't promised,” said Heredia.
With her family in her heart, Heredia started a campaign to help Ukrainian refugees with the help of her close friend, a Romanian woman living in London.
“This type of campaign allows us to see a more tangible result, a direct impact,” said Heredia.
For the past week, her friend Lorena has been collecting blankets, clothes, and toys donated in London.
Meanwhile, Heredia, who lives in Downtown San Diego, launched a GoFundMe campaign. Donations will go toward purchasing items like basic medical supplies, toiletries and baby supplies.
“We chose these items just given the ability to ship many in a quick turnaround time,” said Heredia.
Lorena plans to purchase the items in London, and on Saturday, the first shipments go out.
The two women have partnered with a courier company tied into the relief effort in Romania, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees have ended up.
“So the courier service we’ve actually worked with has a list of hotels, as well as homes. The distribution of those items will actually go directly to the individuals on that list,” said Heredia. “We just want to make a difference. We just want to do a small part in whatever is happening in Ukraine at the moment, and helping as many people as we can.”
Heredia says they will also be partnering with a Polish courier to help refugees there.