Metro Detroit steps up support for Ukraine as refugees continue fleeing war

Thousands of miles from conflict, those with ties to Ukraine are trying to make their impact felt for the refugees escaping the besieged country.

"Us Polish people - we are very giving," said Lucas Karpinski, a volunteer at a Sterling Heights church. "We want to help everybody and we don't want to leave anyone out. We're there when somebody needs us."

Poland is receiving the majority of people fleeing Ukraine. As it opens its borders to refugees, families in Metro Detroit are channeling their own charitable spirits in the form of fundraisers.

Karpinski, along with dozens of other volunteers held a bake sale at Our Lady of Czestochowa, a Catholic Church in Macomb County. The money raised is being sent to assist humanitarian efforts.

This weekend, tables were lined with different kinds of pastries like crepes and waffles, as well as chicken dinners, pork loins, and meatballs.

"People usually don’t want their change. Like somebody (might) have to pay $15 - (they instead) give us $20 and say ‘keep the change. This is for you guys, for Ukraine,’" said one woman. 

Activists channeled the same spirit in downtown Detroit this weekend. People emblazoned with the blue and yellow colors of Ukraine flashed flags and urged those passing by to keep the country in their thoughts. 

"I’m a first generation Ukrainian American. My parents were World War II refugees so it’s history repeating itself all over again," said Daria Szwajkun. 

MORE: "The sky was on fire": Metro Detroit woman trapped in Ukraine during Russian invasion

It's not just finances that can help the country Szwajkun says. Educating others about history can also go a long ways. 

"I’m sure a lot of people didn’t even know Ukraine existed, but it has existed since eons ago, centuries and centuries but we were always under somebody," she said. "In one pocket in history we'd get 20 years there, or 20 years there, this time it’s 30 years.

"It looks like we’re going to fade away again, I just hope it doesn’t end up like that," said Szwajkun. 

If you're looking for other ways to help those in need, check out a list of resources here