NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! A 17-year-old from New York City helped organize and deliver medical supplies to Ukraine in an effort
NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
A 17-year-old from New York City helped organize and deliver medical supplies to Ukraine in an effort to bolster support for the country’s defense against Russian invasion.
“I was more looking to help refugees,” Matthew Geiling told Fox News Digital. “That was sort of what I was looking to do with ‘Ukraine Friends,’ but then as I sort of learned about the more military side of it … how important they are, saving lives … I didn’t realize how much impact the medical supplies had on the military operations.”
“That was one of the things I was pleasantly surprised with.”
Geiling initially raised money through a baseball fundraiser called “Hits for Hope,” which directed its fundraising towards helping the Ukrainian refugees. Geiling is of Ukrainian descent, making the cause near and dear to him.
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Once he had the money, Gelling needed a way to direct it, which is how he linked up with Ukraine Friends. The group, founded shortly after the invasion began in 2022, consists of veterans, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs who donate time and effort to supporting the Ukrainians through whatever means available.
“I stumbled across ‘Ukraine Friends,’ and I wanted to go and do more,” Geiling explained, saying a family friend pointed him in their direction. “I wanted to go and do more, so I gave my money to that organization and took a trip to deliver medical supplies.”
Geiling wanted to first support refugees, but the need for military medical supplies appeared more pressing. He traveled to the charity’s warehouse on Long Island over the course of a week, where he helped pack and prepare the supplies for transport before setting out to deliver the supplies himself.
From there, he drove the supplies into Ukraine from Poland, where he saw first-hand how the refugees suffered from the traumas of the war.
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The hardest part for Geiling was communicating throughout the process.
“I do a lot of volunteer work with my own community, and it’s generally pretty easy because I’m able to just kind of communicate like I’m having to sort of think about how you communicate,” Geiling said.
“It was challenging at the beginning, and I think we were able to sort of overcoming it towards the end at the Children’s Hospital … generally we’re able to communicate through just – it’s cheesy, but through compassion and just sort of being there for people,” he added.
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Geiling’s trip took place from June 24 to 30, and now that he is back in New York, he plans to continue helping when possible – including another trip to Ukraine this summer.
“I’m going to go package and load bags for other Ukrainians because the warehouse is an hour outside the city, so I’ll go down there a few times over the summer and just continue to help out,” he said.
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Ukraine Friends has booked close to 100 commercial flights to courier over 100 tons of medical supplies to Ukraine, including over 25,000 individual first aid kits to the front lines. The Gelling family delivery is the fourth such delivery the charity has organized, a spokesperson told Fox News Digital.