AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — ‘Buffalo Gives‘ is working towards a goal to provide every Ukrainian solider with a bulletproof vest.
On Monday, founder Lydia Dominick is going to the city of Lviv to deliver hundreds more they’ve collected.
For her, it all started with one Ukrainian refugee family.
She said the mother’s 18-year-old son and husband are both fighting in the war without vests.
“We’re trying to get a vest on everyone, these men are fighting in t-shirts and that’s something I won’t stand for. This is something that’s very important to me because how many people can this one man save if he is properly protected?” said Dominick.
They had to get federal export licenses in order to make this mission happen.
“They’re in the hands of the men that need them within hours of us landing, it’s amazing.”
She visited Poland previously and met many of the soldiers receiving the vests.
It takes a team to make the mission possible. Dominik works with a Ukrainian friend in Rochester, a Polish man enlisted in the Ukrainian army, and a man from Florida.
“This is all really hard, it’s all really hard to watch, it’s all really hard to see but anytime we hear news or watch news or we see something happen directly right in front of us that is heart wrenching we just pick a new project we just decide on a new mission and make it happen and that’s how we’re handling the sadness and the gravity of this war.”
On Thursday, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in Rochester donated dozens of vests to Dominick and her team.
Buffalo recently raised $12,000 to help her friend in Poland get two vans to transport refugees out of Ukraine.
Dominick said unlike other parts of the U.S. where donations have slowed down, the people of Buffalo just keep on giving.
“Putting this together in a city like ours was effortless because people just love to make a difference here and they can’t sit around either. So I’m in the right city.”
Anyone interested in helping out can donate to ‘Buffalo Gives‘ through Venmo or PayPal or bring a check or cash to her store, Buffalo Balloon Co on Maple Road in Amherst.