LAKE PLACID — A Lake Placid resident and Ukraine native is organizing a food and goods drive to help people affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kyiv, Ukraine native and USA Luge Marketing Manager Dmitry Feld, with the help of the Lake Placid community, has already sent at least eight shipping trucks with 200,000 pounds of supplies to people fleeing and fighting for freedom in Ukraine. Feld is now partnering with the Lake Placid Central School District and two Ukrainian brothers from “Dancing with the Stars” to send non-perishable foods and supplies to one warehouse in Poland and two warehouses in Ukraine.
Feld said he was watching CNN recently when he saw an interview with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, an Odesa, Ukraine native and “Dancing With the Stars” contestant.
Chmerkovskiy was in Kyiv when the war broke out in February. He told CNN he felt bad leaving Ukraine, but he was told to seek safety in the US immediately after Russia’s invasion. He still wanted to help his country in some way, so he and his family created a charity called Baranova27, named after the street address of his childhood home. Feld said he connected with Chmerkovskiy and his brother Valentin, who Feld said responded with excitement after hearing he wanted to send items from Lake Placid.
Baranova27 is based in New Jersey. Feld said he’ll truck Lake Placid’s donations down in as many U-Hauls as it takes to carry the load.
“More is better,” he said.
What to donate
People can donate the following items to the Ukraine drive, located at the USA Luge headquarters, by May 16:
¯ Medical items, including gauze; CPR masks; respiratory tubing; sutures; burn/bleed control kits (Celox granules); tourniquets; medical tape; splints; pain reliever; antibiotic ointment; and anti-diarrhea/heartburn medicine
¯ Items for soldiers (in dark colors only), including thermal clothing and long socks; tactical gear and equipment; ready-to-eat meals; new sleeping bags; camping mats; tents; bulletproof vests; and equipment like drones, UV flashlights and walkie-talkies
¯ Childcare items that aren’t packaged in glass, like powdered formula; powdered Pedialyte; baby food pouches; dry snacks; bottles and pacifiers; diaper rash ointment; and thermal onesies and swaddles
¯ Non-perishable food items, like protein bars; powdered electrolytes; disposable plates and tableware; vitamins; and candy
¯ New, unopened hygiene products, like eye drops; toothbrushes and toothpaste; cough and flu medicine; travel-size toiletries; nail clippers; and feminine and incontinence products
¯New adult clothing items, like plain t-shirts; oversized zip-up hoodies; flip-flops and Crocs; pajama pants; and fleece blankets.
Donations should be boxed, labeled and dropped off at USA Luge, 57 Church Street in Lake Placid, by May 16. Feld said boxes should weigh no more than 15 or 20 pounds. People who have questions can contact Feld at [email protected]
Donations are also being accepted at the North Elba Town Hall and at Lake Placid Central School District schools through May 16.
LPCSD Superintendent Timothy Seymour said he sent an email to some superintendents and officials around the Tri-Lakes last week to see if they’d be interested in expanding the drive to outlying school districts. Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES District Superintendent Dale Breault said Monday that the Adirondack Educational Center in Saranac Lake would serve as an additional collection point for the drive.
“I think we will have a pretty broad base of participation when it’s all said and done,” Seymour said.
Feld said he wanted to call the Ukraine drive “Operation SPAM” to communicate the need for non-perishable foods, but he thought the name “might mess up young kids because they might think SPAM is computer spam.”
The Great Depression fueled the creation of the non-perishable pork product, which fed US troops during World War II, according to Hormel Foods.
Feld said the canned luncheon meat could now feed people fighting in Ukraine. He said the country can’t produce much food while people are in the throes of war. Feld has already started Operation SPAM; he said he’s bought about five or seven cases of SPAM cans.
“It’s good amount of SPAM there,” he said.
Feld encouraged people to purchase and donate similar non-perishable foods to the drive.