Bay Area non-profit ready to deliver aid, even in Ukraine war zone

The stories from Ukraine of human suffering, and children and families fleeing the death and destruction from the Russian invasion has touched hearts and rallied an army of volunteers for a Bay Area non-profit called Hearts for Ukraine.

On Friday, people took action in San Jose packing up donations to send to Ukrainian people.

More than 60 volunteers packed up boxes of clothes, food, medical supplies and other needed items. The boxes were labeled for hospitals, orphanages and other sites in Ukraine.

"Currently we have a list of about 65 organizations and the list is growing," said Eugene Tarasov, founder of Hearts for Ukraine, which he says he created only three weeks ago and differs from a similarly named organization's website.

Tarasov says he is a music festival organizer who works at Google. Now, however, he is orchestrating the effort to gather a mountain of donations in a short amount of time.

"It's only been a week that we've been collecting and responding to five foundations we've gathered pretty much majority of the things that were requested," said Tarasov.

The volunteers put aside their ordinary routines to help prepare the donations, sending the needed supplies to people they don't know, but care so much about.

"There's lots of medical needs. They're orphanages, they have lots of kids need food, they need warm clothes, heat, fuel, they need money for that," said Tarasov.

President Biden in Poland Friday talked about the ten million people forced from their homes and the need for humanitarian aid and human compassion.

"Looking at mothers, you don't have to understand the language they speak, you see in their eyes the pain," said President Biden. 

Tarasov says Hearts for Ukraine has established a direct supply chain inside Ukraine working with the postal service for deliveries to cities that are safe.

The group also has people willing to risk their lives and deliver aid to places within the war zone where the most desperate people are trapped.

Tarasov says just getting the supplies there is also a battle.

"Monetary wise, that is fairly expensive. Air freight is not cheap," said Tarasov, "The air freight costs $279 a pound, so if we want to send a fully loaded 100-ton Boeing 747 cargo that's $400,000. We need that money, just logistical money to get the aid to the people," said Tarasov.

The group has information on their website about the shipment and will be updating the list this weekend with a call for more items and volunteers needed.

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Jana at and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or