BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — In Western New York, Ukrainian and Irish cultural groups have been helping with relief efforts. This, as the Irish Cultural Center deals with its own personal loss.

The local Irish community was one of the first heritage groups to take action and help raise money for Ukraine. Sunday night’s fundraiser at the Irish Center showed how the outpouring of support is continuing.

“The Irish, with their love and support, is outstanding,” Emil Bandriwsky, president of the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center. “We’re incredibly honored. We’re impressed. We feel that we’re loved.”

Buffalo’s Irish community united with the Ukrainian Cultural Center to show that they’re allies in the war between Ukraine and Russia.

“We are Irish-Americans, and of course, Americans, believe in democracy and freedom,” Randall McPhee, vice president of the Buffalo Irish Center. “And [Ukraine] has been attacked by a regime, and that should get the blood up for any red-blooded American, especially for Irish-Americans”

“We’re not very fond of dictatorships, as you might know,” McPhee added. “So we’re doing what we can to help out and we’re very happy to do this.”

Members of the Buffalo Irish Center organized this fundraiser to send more aid to the people in Ukraine. But even more than that, organizers say it was to show how different cultural groups need to stand up for each other in times of need.

Irish Cultural Center member Charlie McMahon spear headed the effort. He passed away days before the event he helped put together.

News 4 was able to talk with him when he announced the fundraiser last month.

“They’re people in a terrible situation and need help,” he said. “And not just from their own citizens — they need the help of the world.”

Bandriwsky spoke highly of McMahon.

“Charlie was the individual from the Irish Center who reached out to us when the war first started,” he said. “He came to Dnipro, introduced himself and said, ‘We feel the pain of your people and want to do something to help.’ He organized this event.”

Organizers said the money the center helped raise during the event will go toward individual first aid kits, medical supplies, evacuation vehicles, and to hospitals in Ukraine

Emil Bandriwsky said since the war started, the Western New York community has helped the center raise $200,000.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.