Twin Cities Rotary Steps Up to Support Ukrainian Refugees in Poland


On Tuesday at noon, or 9 p.m. in Poland, Twin Cities Rotary Club members and other Rotarians throughout the state met with several Rotarians in Poland, living about 19 miles from the Ukraine-Poland border to discuss how they could support the Polish efforts to take in refugees from Ukraine.

During a Friday morning meeting, Rotarian Larry McGee spoke in place of Anil Puri, of Centralia, on what the Twin Cities club members learned from their conversation with the people in Poland.

“When you listen to the Polish people, what they're doing is incredible. Because they're very proud that none of these refugees are sleeping under the underpass,” McGee said. “They're staying in people's houses. They're staying in converted schools to refugee centers. They've taken in a million people. And just to put that perspective, the population of Poland is less than California. Almost all women and children, of course, because the men are staying behind and fighting the Russians. So what we talked about is, ‘Can we help you?’”

And the Polish Rotarians said “yes.”

Poland has had a shortage of bandages, specifically a kind of bandages called “Israeli bandages” that quickly stop bleeding due to compression. Shortly after the Tuesday meeting, Puri was able to secure a shipment of the bandages to send to the club’s connections in Poland.

The other thing that would help, McGee learned in the meeting, is money. The various rotarians that met Tuesday were hoping to secure $1,500 from each club in the area.

“If a motion was made here today to do the $1,500 out of the club, that would set the pace,” said club member Fred Rider.

After discussion, Rider made a motion that was seconded and passed unanimously.

McGee also told the club that during the Tuesday meeting, a past club president from Woodland was telling the Polish Rotarians his grandson is engaged to a young woman from Ukraine and had to leave her hometown because of the war.

“It was up in the northeast parts where the Russians stormed in. They’re now hiding in another place. And one of the Polish Rotarians said, ‘Oh, I can get them out. You get me the information, I’ll get them out.’ That’s powerful. That was like, wow. Wow. We want to help these people.”

Club treasurer Chuck Prater is also setting up Zelle and Venmo accounts for club members or non-members to donate directly to the cause. Those will likely be set up early next week. Follow the Twin Cities Rotary Page on Facebook for updates. Checks can also be made to the Twin Cities Rotary Foundation and mailed to Rotary Club of Twin Cities (Centralia-Chehalis) P.O. Box 6, Chehalis, WA 98532.