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B.C. family in Ukraine helping thousands of refugees with food, shelter

‘This is still just a drop in the bucket to what we need to be able to do’ - Chad Martz
Screenshot from a video posted by Chad Martz in his home in western Ukraine on March 8, 2022. In the background people staying in his home sing a song as a send off to a gropu of refugees who are leaving. (Chad Martz Facebook)

A Chilliwack man working with a charity in western Ukraine says as bad as the refugee crisis created by the Russian invasion has been so far, it’s going to get worse.

Chad Martz, his wife Mary and 17-year-old daughter Tatyana live in western Ukraine where Chad and Mary work for Chilliwack-based Christian charity Hungry For Life International.

“(It’s) getting scary,” Chad told The Progress over Messenger on Wednesday. “Food shortages in many parts of the country. It’s going to get really bad really quick.”

The Martz family have been on the front lines of finding and providing food and shelter for hundreds of refugees fleeing Russian missiles and tanks in the eastern parts of Ukraine.

READ MORE: Chilliwack family living in western Ukraine helps those fleeing Russian invasion

On March 8, he said they had eight people leave their house in the morning and four more came through the door later in the day.

“They were lost trying to find a place to stay and our brother-in-law brought them here,” he said.

In a short video posted on the Hungry For Life Facebook page, Martz said they have been able to accomplish a great deal to help refugees coming from high-conflict areas.

He said they have helped co-ordinate helping getting food for 40,000 people over five days, in addition to the people coming through their doors to spend the night.

“It’s substantial but this is still just a drop in the bucket to what we need to be able to do. We’ve been able to secure food supplies directly from factories, as long as we have the funds for it. We have the transportation and distribution network all set up for it.”

In the video he posted, he walked into the family living room where a man played a piano as part of a send-off to the latest group of refugees through their home. Several of the people sang a song in Ukrainian.

“There’s been multiple stories of people who have come through,” he said. “One of those in Kharkiv, a couple were being shelled for five days. They were in a room with no windows, just protecting their four-year-old daughter. They spent two days underground in the subway and made their way here.”

Chad said the donations people are making to Hungry For Life is helping to make a difference.

“It’s heartbreaking but your contributions and prayers are making a difference. Thanks everyone.”

If anyone wants to help out Hungry for Life International is located at 45950 Alexander Ave. and the website is Chad said 100 per cent of donations go to the front lines, they don’t take a cut for office expenses.

RELATED: Mission woman’s childhood home becomes deathtrap for family stuck in besieged Kharkiv

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