Wisconsin couple going to Ukraine-Poland border to help refugees

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More than 2.5 million Ukrainians fled their homes since Russia invaded. Most are women and children.The images unfold on screens across the U.S. as Americans try to comprehend the unimaginable.”To me, it’s still kind of surreal that it’s happening,” said Colgate resident Carol Mastronardo. “When you see the little kids walking across the border, and you know they’re leaving their homes, and when this is over, hopefully soon, they have nothing to go back to,” her husband Christopher Mastronardo added.The two couldn’t shake the images and knew they had to do more to help.”I booked one-way tickets,” Carol told WISN 12 News.The couple leaves for Italy on Monday morning. They are sponsoring buses to go from there to the Poland and Ukraine border to pick up refugees and bring them to Italy for safety.From there, charities in Italy will relocate the refugees, and find them temporary housing.”This is a tiny little speck of what we can do to help these people,” Carol said.She is a 45-year travel agent veteran and had the contacts to make this mission work, along with community donations.The two are traveling with suitcases filled with Tylenol, hygiene products and Chris’s stuffed animal collection for the kids.He is an avid collector, and was saving the stuffed toys, but felt giving them to refugee children would make a larger impact.”They’re going to be so happy to have something like that in their arms to hold onto until hopefully their dads come back and they rejoin together and they’re a family again,” he told WISN 12 News.Carol said she knows it will be a challenge to see the border in person, but can’t wait to be there for support.”On the bus ride there’s going to be small babies,” she said holding back tears. “And the mother’s been carrying them for how long and it’s like ‘OK, now it’s my time. Let me help.'”The Mastronardo’s raised more than $30,000 in two days to help fund the buses, drivers and supplies. They plan to donate the rest to the charities in Italy that will temporarily house the refugees.If you’d like to donate to their mission click this link for their GoFundMe.

More than 2.5 million Ukrainians fled their homes since Russia invaded. Most are women and children.

The images unfold on screens across the U.S. as Americans try to comprehend the unimaginable.

“To me, it’s still kind of surreal that it’s happening,” said Colgate resident Carol Mastronardo.

“When you see the little kids walking across the border, and you know they’re leaving their homes, and when this is over, hopefully soon, they have nothing to go back to,” her husband Christopher Mastronardo added.

The two couldn’t shake the images and knew they had to do more to help.

“I booked one-way tickets,” Carol told WISN 12 News.

The couple leaves for Italy on Monday morning.

They are sponsoring buses to go from there to the Poland and Ukraine border to pick up refugees and bring them to Italy for safety.

From there, charities in Italy will relocate the refugees, and find them temporary housing.

“This is a tiny little speck of what we can do to help these people,” Carol said.

She is a 45-year travel agent veteran and had the contacts to make this mission work, along with community donations.

The two are traveling with suitcases filled with Tylenol, hygiene products and Chris’s stuffed animal collection for the kids.

He is an avid collector, and was saving the stuffed toys, but felt giving them to refugee children would make a larger impact.

“They’re going to be so happy to have something like that in their arms to hold onto until hopefully their dads come back and they rejoin together and they’re a family again,” he told WISN 12 News.

Carol said she knows it will be a challenge to see the border in person, but can’t wait to be there for support.

“On the bus ride there’s going to be small babies,” she said holding back tears. “And the mother’s been carrying them for how long and it’s like ‘OK, now it’s my time. Let me help.'”

The Mastronardo’s raised more than $30,000 in two days to help fund the buses, drivers and supplies.

They plan to donate the rest to the charities in Italy that will temporarily house the refugees.

If you’d like to donate to their mission click this link for their GoFundMe.



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