Shipment bound for people of Lviv, Ukraine

Lavine ships 10,000 pounds of aid to people of Ukraine


As the Russian war on Ukraine grinds into its eighth month, many people have already begun to put the ongoing crisis into the back of their minds. For some Long Islanders like Assemblyman Chuck Lavine of District 13 however, the efforts of the Ukrainian people to defend their families, country and liberty have not gone unnoticed.
Lavine helped send off a shipment of 10,000 pounds of humanitarian aid goods Sept. 30 which will go to aid Ukraine and its people in their struggle for freedom.
The war in Ukraine has been the largest European conflict since World War II, and the effects on the people of the region, their homes, livelihoods and standard of life has been catastrophic.
Though the country has scored several key victories over their Russian foes, such as their ongoing counterattack against Russian-occupied territories in the southeast and the destruction of the Crimean Bridge, the cost to Ukraine and its people has been enormous, with between 6,000 to 14,000 civilian casualties in the last eight months amid numerous allegations of Russian war crimes.
“You can see that the range of criminal actions of (Russia) is very wide — missile terror, mass murders, criminal deportations, radiation blackmail at, for example, our captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, food crisis, energy crisis, etc.,” Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said in an Oct. 6 speech to the Lowy Institute in Australia. “At the level of cooperation with Ukraine, regular and demonstrative support packages are needed, primarily defensive and financial, so that the aggressor sees that his criminal actions only complicate the situation for him.”

Aid and support packages such as Zelensky described were frequently being shipped in the first few weeks and months of the war. As the incursion has dragged on, such shipments have become less frequent as people’s attention has been drawn to other crises. For Lavine however, supporting the efforts of the Ukrainian people has been a top priority.
According to Lavine, within hours of the beginning of the Russian invasion, he and members of his office began reaching out to local humanitarian groups to see what could be done to help the Ukrainian people. The assemblyman began raising aid from charitable residents of Long Island, asking for essentials such as clothing, personal care items and household supplies. He is continuously blown away by the scale of the generosity his fellow Americans have shown on behalf of the Ukrainian people.
“People often ask, ‘How do I make a difference? Can I make a difference?,’” Lavine said. “Americans of good faith want to make a difference here for the better, and those are the people who contributed to this drive. Those are the people who contributed items to our office which are now en route to help the people of Ukraine.”
The supply drive by Lavine and his office has lasted roughly seven months, gathering 10,000 pounds of various supplies, which have been kept in a storage facility operated by the food bank Long Island Cares. After the 20 pallets of goods were loaded in trucks, they were sent to Newark, New Jersey, from which they will make their way to the Ukrainian city of Lviv and be distributed to Ukrainians in need by the charity organization Hope for Ukraine.
The assemblyman and his team also worked closely with groups like the Ukrainian Americans of Long Island, a Great Neck-based association of Ukrainians and Ukrainian Americans who are working to provide aid to their motherland and raise awareness about the conflict.
Volodymyr Tsyalkovsky, who founded the group back in 2019, explained the impact the supplies will make on the embattled citizens of Ukraine.
“It was a big undertaking which took a lot of energy and a lot of help from all the people involved, who are donating, who are organizing these drives and the volunteers who helped every step of the process,” Tsyalkovsky said. “It will be put to good use and hopefully lower the suffering of the Ukrainian people, who are in a really stressed position at the moment.”