Philly's Ukrainian community ramps up humanitarian aid efforts amid fears of Russian invasion

The Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center is also helping with the cause.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Inside the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee offices in Northeast Philadelphia, stacks of boxes line nearly every corner.

Everything not nailed down will soon make its way to Ukraine.

Inside each box is a plethora of mostly donated goods from clothing to medical supplies.

While the organization has provided humanitarian aid for years, lately things have escalated as concerns of a full-scale invasion by Russia grew.

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As people fill up their gas tanks across the tri-state area, they're noticing that it costs more.

"People are ramping up, they are bringing everything they can to help their families," said executive director Motrja Watters.

With so much uncertainty, many groups are actively fundraising for whatever needs may arise.

Communication is as crucial as ever.

The Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center is also helping with the cause.

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To address the crisis at its border after publicly downplaying warnings, Ukraine on Wednesday took steps to brace for a possible Russian invasion.

"What else can we do besides the praying and the collecting money and hoping that we can support them as best as we can?" said Natalie Firko, president of the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center.

Firko says after eight years of war, many Ukrainians and their families here in the states are watching and waiting with the rest of the world.

"The world needs to know that this is just the start. If we let (Vladimir Putin) do this. You know, who knows what's next?" Firko said.

Family members in the region are also contemplating the next steps.

"Are you concerned about the possibility of war happening now?" asked Action News reporter George Solis.

"Actually, I am afraid of it," said one Ukrainian resident in Philadelphia.

Many are hoping diplomacy can still prevail.

"I want the peace. Not for me, because I live here, but my relatives, my kids, my grandkids, peace only for them but for generations to come," said the woman.

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