Arizona nonprofit’s personal connection to helping Ukrainian refugees

A fundraiser was held at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek on Saturday for Ukrainian refugees.
A fundraiser was held at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek on Saturday for Ukrainian refugees.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 14, 2022 at 8:54 PM MST
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QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - While Ukraine continues to be heavily engaged with invading Russian forces, every contribution matters when it comes to helping displaced Ukrainian families. One Arizona nonprofit put together a fundraiser to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland, and the founders of the nonprofit are heading to Poland to help firsthand.

Marcee Foster, the founder of Reach Humanity, has taken two trips to Poland. Her husband Lance is still over there and has been for nine weeks. They’ve had the chance to interact with Ukrainian refugees and see the struggle with their own eyes. The fundraiser put on at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek is a chance to help these families start a new chapter in their lives.

“Every single penny we’ve ever collected has gone straight to the refugees,” Marcee Foster said.

It’s been a few months since Foster and her family started their volunteer efforts in Poland. During that time, Foster (along with some family and friends) helped Ukrainian refugees find luggage, a place to live, and so much more. But there’s still work that needs to be done.

“It’s women and children,” she said. “And they are super vulnerable. They have very, very little. They’re coming across that border, and they don’t know what they’re doing next.” So far, Reach Humanity has raised over $100,000 to help these families. The goal of this fundraiser is to at least match that. “We’re literally putting food into people’s mouths right now, putting them into hotels so they can rest and think and shower,” Foster said. “And make decisions about their future.”

Those in attendance caught some live music, put in bids for the silent auction, and checked out the local food trucks. By just being at the fundraiser, they’re donating money and making a difference. “We feel like we’ve been cared for,” Ukraine native Aleksey Potaychuk said. “We feel like people really understand what’s going on. It’s such a scary event. War is never fun. And we really appreciate all the people that make it possible.”

For Foster, support from strangers here in Arizona doesn’t just allow her to do more. It also makes her feel like less of a stranger when she’s in Poland, a place that has quickly become a second home. “Within an instant, they become family,” she said. “They’re life-long friends. They would do anything for you. And I would do anything for them.”