On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the Monroe community came together to collect humanitarian aid supplies to send to refugees in Ukraine.
Jeremy McGarry, MCCC alumni and community member, organized the collection event, which took place on March 19.
“I always say it just takes one person, and I figured all I can do is try to make a difference,” said McGarry.
Donations, which were dropped off at the La-Z-Boy Center, included items such as diapers, baby wipes, blankets, pillows, feminine products, a military grade helmet, and a Kevlar vest.
Though the event was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., McGarry said people started lining up to drop off supplies at 10 a.m. In four hours, the semitruck was full.
Donations continued to roll in. “We had to get a 26-foot U-Haul and we almost ran out of room,” McGarry said. “We had to fill the cab of the truck to fit everything.”
McGarry’s father, Patrick McGarry, said the recommended list of products did not even contain feminine products. As a father to two daughters, Patrick McGarry said a need was being dismissed. So, he stocked up on boxes of feminine products to donate.
“This is just about people helping people,” Patrick McGarry said.
Not only did McGarry’s supply donation goal get surpassed, he said they raised just under $7,000.
The money will be used to transport the supplies, which will be driven to Hamtramck, MI. There, the donations will be transferred into a Standard Trucking vehicle. Standard Trucking will then take the supplies to be loaded into a shipping container.
Volunteers from the community, including MCCC President Kojo Quartey and Monroe County Middle College students were helping load the trucks and pack up donations.
Cynthia Roof, a Monroe citizen, showed up to make a donation. She saw the line getting backed up, so she asked Jeremy McGarry if he would like an extra volunteer to stick around and pack the truck up.
“Everyone has been wonderful. The people of Monroe have all come together,” said Roof. “It takes a special kind of person to organize something like this, so I am really proud of Jeremy even though I do not know him.”
Local businesses also joined the effort by making food donations to the volunteers. Tim Hortons donated two dozen donuts, and Giuseppe’s Pizza and Tiffany’s Pizza donated pizza.
Benore Logistic Systems Inc. donated the semitruck, a driver and the fuel to transport the supplies.
McGarry said his passion for this project came in part from his interest in global politics and from his time at MCCC being in the International Studies Club. McGarry said he got to visit a refugee center program in Phoenix with the International Studies Club, where he grew a stronger knowledge and appreciation for what refugees go through.
McGarry said the cost to send all the supplies across seas will be almost half a million dollars.
McGarry said anyone who was unable to make it out and would still like to donate, can go to razomforukraine.org to join the effort.