Russia-Ukraine War

San Diego Foundation Helps Provide Much-Needed Items to Ukrainians in Country's Hot Spots

NBC Universal, Inc.

Steven Moore spent the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine glued to his phone trying to help his friends.

“Nobody's prepared to have their city turned into a war zone overnight,” said Moore. "I've actually been to four war zones before this, so I was pretty well educated on what happens in war zones. I just started talking to them about how to get to safety.”

Being thousands of miles away there was only so much he could do, so he decided to take action.

“I flew to Bucharest and then I drove into Ukraine and established an apartment as a safe house where people could come out of hotspots like Kyiv,” said Moore.

Moore's safe house is located in Western Ukraine. He says more than 50 people have come through so far, and he’s also helped another 50 connect with other safe houses in the region. 

“I'm lucky to have my life here,” said Iryna Dreval. “I think that it was just the best decision I've ever made in my life and I'm really thankful to Steven Moore.”

Dreval was living in Kyiv with her two young sons, ages 8 and 12, up until a few days ago. 

“I couldn't believe that something like that could happen in Kyiv, you know, in the capital of my country."

But she says Moore found her a safe place to stay in Western Ukraine and it all happened just in time. Right after she left, a bomb went off in front of her apartment building.

“If I had stayed in Kyiv, you know, it could have injured me and my children," said Dreval.

With the help of the San Diego County Prosperity Foundation, Moore has also created a nonprofit called the Ukraine Freedom Project to raise money for supplies to send to Kyiv.

“What that has enabled us to do is put now three shipments of medicine into hotspots, hospitals at the front that are taking the worst casualties, we’re able to get radios to the hands of the territorial defense organization and in the hands of the regular army,” said Moore.

When asked how long he plans on staying in Ukraine, Moore said “I plan on staying out here as long as I can make a difference.”

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