CLEVELAND, Ohio — As their family and friends fight for freedom back in Ukraine, a group from Northeast Ohio has packed up gear to help those fighting in the war.
"Everybody here feels the same way, this is our obligation, this is not for show or for trophy or for appreciation. We all feel this duty, most of these people lived there not that long ago," Anastasiya Koval said.
Koval is traveling to Ukraine on Tuesday to bring as many donations as she can with sleeping bags, thermal liners, winter boots and other gear.
She's one of many in the group who have been collecting donations, each with a special connection to their home country.
"Just today I went to Home Depot and I bought solar powered lights for the boys in the trenches because there's no lights over there. The west, there's some electricity, but the east is pretty much knocked out," Koval said.
This will be Koval's third trip to Ukraine since the war began. Her parents are both from Ukraine; her mother has been there taking care of her bedridden parents and her father went back over when the war started to help.
He has been relaying exactly what they need and where they need it to directly help those continuing to fight on the front lines.
"Morale is very high, I think its really hard for people to grasp how existential this battle is for us, its not just us versus them its about our right to exist essentially as a nation and as a people," Koval said.
She said perseverance has been shining through as so many are still left in the dark without power amid constant attacks.
"We have always fought for our freedom, for hundreds of years, and that today just proves to show more than anything," Koval said.