Ukrainian shipping company helps relief efforts abroad

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STATEN ISLAND – Box after box filled with diapers, food and medicine are stacked up and ready to be delivered to people trying to survive the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Meest, a Ukrainian courier on Midland Avenue, has already collected about 1,000 boxes of supplies.

“It’s tough and I’m always on the news,” Meest Staten Island manager Kate Saetckaia said of what it’s like to watch the war unfold in Ukraine. “I mean, it’s really hard to stand, but I’m trying my best and doing everything I can.”

Staten Island has the second largest Ukrainian immigrant population of all five boroughs. Saetckaia said the support from the island has been overwhelming.

“It was like hundreds of people. People took days off to come here and help us sort packages,” she said. “They dropped everything they could: clothes, diapers, food, medical supplies.”

The aid is being sent to a Meest warehouse in Port Reading, New Jersey, just under 20 minutes from the Outerbridge.

Here, employees and volunteers sort through all the supplies and organize them to send them overseas.

Meest in Ukrainian means “bridge” and the company’s goal is to connect Ukrainians in the United States with those in Ukraine. Myroslava Downey is the Human Resources Manager. She said that due to the Russian invasion, they changed the way the business works.

“A big part of our business was courier shipping, where residents of Ukraine would buy items online and bring them to our warehouse and we would pass them on,” Downey said.

Now the warehouse is only focused on sending aid. Downey said funding these operations has become a struggle.

“The profits that would allow us to ship and pay operating expenses are completely gone. We are currently working in partnership with other organizations who not only sponsor and collect humanitarian aid, but also help with transportation costs,” Downey said.

Downey said they are working hard to ensure operations continue, adding that medical supplies are crucial at this time.

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