Our Friends in Ukraine
Help the Odesa Territorial Defenses
Megan has a dear friend named Lena, and they've been friends since they were teenagers. This is Lena's story.
Born in Odesa, Ukraine, Lena Zaimis came to the US in 2001. She is now living with her husband and kids in Blairstown, New Jersey while trying to support her parents, brother, extended family and friends who all remain in Ukraine.
Lena's parents still live in Odesa, it is a major port city in the South of Ukraine and a key target for Putin. Lena’s father Anatoliy participated in citizens’ defense of Odesa in 2014, when Russia first invaded Ukraine. He is now too old to join the active military and instead, is helping organize supplies for local territorial defense and military.
Lena’s brother Dmytro is a civilian IT professional who voluntarily joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces in March 2022 after the war started. He is now commanding a mortar detachment (short range artillery unit of 20-30 soldiers) fighting in the south of Ukraine.
Through her father, Lena is in direct contact with territorial defense groups in Odesa and helps organize much needed supplies to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom. In the months since the war started, Lena has been fundraising to send Autel drones, range finders, compasses and radios directly to local teams on the ground in and around Odesa. The drones have become highly requested from the local defenders as they are invaluable for reconnaissance and surveillance activities. The drones that Lena fundraised for are currently being used by military and territorial defense units in Odesa, Kyiv, and near occupied Kherson, Mariupol and Crimea.
Through the donations she received, Lena also provided funds directly to territorial defense groups to help fund several cars currently being used for reconnaissance in the south of Ukraine. In addition, the funds were also used to obtain meds for refugees from Mariupol and provide local fighters with military boots and body armor.
Helping on a Local Level
As the war in Ukraine continues to rage due to the aggressive Russian offense, the need for aid continues to increase as Ukrainians burn through ammunition, supplies and medications to sustain their fight. The United States government is sending a great deal of heavy armor and military aid which is instrumental in allowing Ukrainians to fight back. Nevertheless, local territorial defense units and military need support to maintain supply of even basic items. Just in May, Lena’s brother asked her to send Motorola radios for his unit. We can easily buy these radios in US on Amazon for $100; his commanders have the radios US government has sent but there is just not enough for his unit.
Every single cent donated will go directly to support the local freedom fighters. Lena is part of a team in the US that flies out every few weeks and personally delivers these much needed items to Warsaw, Poland where they get picked up and are driven into Ukraine by the local teams from Odesa.
If you chose to support the local defenders in Odesa, please leave us your email. We will share the pictures of what the funds raised are used for. Your support matters and is what has and is making all the difference for the people of Ukraine.
Thank you for your support
A soldier poses with the life-saving recon drone that was sent over by Lena in spring of 2022.
A thank you letter from Ukrainian border control to Lena and her dad for donating the Autel Drone, medical supplies, and blankets.
Tourniquets, medicine and other medical supplies, all donated.
A truck full of donated warm blankets.
Vehicles that were made possible with funds raised in the US by Lena, used for reconnaissance in the south.
New boots made possible by our donations.
Soldiers in their donated boots.
American volunteer in the International Legion fighting in the South, thanks us for a donated drone.
Autel drone delivered to local defenders in June 2022.
Life saving medical supplies for refugees from Mariupol.