SAN DIEGO — The San Diego man who raised money on a GoFundMe page and packed his bags to help feed Ukrainian refugees has returned home.
Jay Ross recently went to Poland to help volunteer with World Central Kitchen to provide meals for the refugees.
The freezing temperatures in Poland did not stop Jay’s hands or heart.
“They had me cutting up– I probably cut about 150 broccoli and carrots and such in 33-degree weather outside,” Ross said.
The stories he heard from the refugees he met haunt him.
“I think just hearing the stories of what they had to endure right before was probably the most emotional part of the trip,” Ross said. “Because it was a living hell– what they had to deal with.”
For Ross, seeing the thousands of refugees pouring into Poland, he knew he had to help.
“We would help people when they would come into the train station and help them get to where they’re going and drive them over to the station,” Ross said. “And there would be another 1,000 people and it just didn’t stop.”
The San Diegan raised more than $20,000 on his GoFundMe page before he left to volunteer with World Central Kitchen. In his role with the organization, Ross cooked meals in 12-hour shifts for Ukrainian refugees, a job that took a physical and emotional toll.
“At the end of the day, I’d go back and I’d break down. I would be really sad about what I saw,” he said. “I’d be really sad about these kids and really sad asking why they couldn’t go home. I was really emotional and really difficult.”
Ross says he donated the funds raised to local charities helping with groceries, home building, and orphans.
While Ross just returned to San Diego this week, he says his memories of the refugees will stay with him forever.
“I just really wanted to help and they were so appreciative,” he says.
Ross says there are not enough volunteers to accommodate the influx of refugees. He hopes his story encourages more Americans to go volunteer to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland.