From the village of Salem to Ukraine with care – Shaw Local

Salem Village has joined a supply chain of donated goods to Ukraine.

The Joliet Skilled Nursing Facility sent four buses with boxes of goods in less than a month as part of a giving campaign that outlines how workplaces, churches, schools and other organizations get their supplies from the country devastated by the Russian invasion.

“What is happening there is heartbreaking,” said Salem Village Administrator Annette Gentile. “They are in our hearts and our prayers. The staff here at Salem Village want to help in any way they can.

Salem Village is funneling donations to a Frankfurt fitness center that has become a hub for the volunteer effort to get supplies to Ukraine.

“It’s been phenomenal,” said Matt Banchak, studio director at F45 Training.

F45 Training owner Yana Tymoshenko is Ukrainian and has launched her own collection for her native country. The news got out and the donations exceeded expectations.

“We started with little things like bandages, diapers and clothes, and it turned into a monsoon of donations,” Banchak said. “Churches have sent donations. Schoolchildren make cards. The old ladies knit scarves and gloves.

Police and firefighters sent helmets and protective vests.

“Every week we pick it up and send it to a Carol Stream location,” Banchak said. “Help Heroes of Ukraine breaks everything down into boxes, and they send it to Poland, and from there it goes to Ukraine.”

Help Heroes of Ukraine receives donations from places like F45 Training and Salem Village throughout the Chicago area.

F45 Training has become a southern suburban hub for donations, Banchak said. But somehow they got donations from people in Michigan, Wisconsin, and even Kentucky.

It’s a snowball effect that Salem Village has seen as donations keep coming in.

“It was mostly my staff,” Gentile said of the donors.

But she’s also reached out to her grandchildren for the cause, and staff can also bring in supplies donated by friends and family.

Gentile said Salem Village welcomes items from the public at its facility at 1314 Rowell Ave.

Salem Village has posted a sign in its lobby that states what it is looking for:

• First aid supplies include first aid kits, ice packs, burn gel, peroxide dressings, gauze and sponges, aspirin, cough medicine, masks, gloves and batteries.

• Humanitarian aid includes non-perishable food, hygiene products, blankets, sheets and sleeping bags, disposable plates and utensils, hand warmers, paper products, diapers and infant formula , clothes, shoes and socks.

Donations usually arrive wrapped in plastic bags. Salem Village staff pack them into boxes before taking them to F45 training.

Gentile said she, like others, is praying for an end to the war in Ukraine. If their prayers are answered, the donation campaign will continue as long as people bring supplies.

“Even if the war ended today,” Gentile said, “there will be a need.”

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