GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Boxes of supplies gathered in West Michigan have arrived in Ukraine for civilians weathering Russia’s assault on their country.

Veronika Pleune of Grand Rapids organized the grassroots effort. She said the shipments have reached their destinations: two at warehouses in the capital of Kyiv and the eastern city of Kharkiv. A third shipment has arrived in the western city of Lviv and is ultimately bound for Pleune’s hometown of Ivano-Frankivsk, two hours south.

“The three shipments that we did was all strictly medical supplies. It was tourniquets, it was bandages, it was adhesives,” Pleune listed. “Painkillers, baby Tylenol for kids.”

As of Monday, the donations in Kyiv and Kharkiv were awaiting distribution. The goal is to get them to hospitals treating the wounded.

Veronika Pleune and her sister wanted to do more to help with the with relief efforts, so they started ordering medical supplies to send to the country and put out a call to friends and family on social media. (Courtesy Veronika Pleune)

“It’s getting a little bit tougher because the shipping company is getting overwhelmed with all the donations so it’s tougher for them to sort through it,” Pleune said.

She was told the shipping company has moved 1.4 million boxes of supplies for Ukrainians in the last three weeks.

“Now we’re just waiting to see once they get those supplies and see what else they need and then we’ll definitely do it again, but as of right now, there’s just no point in overwhelming the system,” Pleune said.

Her grandmother and aunt remain in Ukraine. They found shelter in the woods during the first days of the invasion. They have since returned home but are having trouble getting necessities.

“They can’t go to the bank and when they do, they can’t get money out. What they need, it’s very limited. The same thing with the stores: if you get them at the right time, you can get stuff; if you don’t get there at the right time then you might not be able to get the things you need.

“It’s kind of like almost like the Cold War all over again in Ukraine where everything is rationed, and you have to be in line for hours,” she added.

Pleune started by collecting supplies from friends and family before the effort grew to strangers contributing on social media.

“The American support that we have here, the Polish support, just the all around the world support that we have, it just makes it easier and more tolerable and we know that we can get through this,” she said.