San Benito County agencies sending relief to Ukraine

The Community Foundation, Health Foundation and Sheriff's Office raising funds and sending medical kits and tactical gear.
San Benito County Sheriff's helmets and vests. Photo by Noe Magaña.
San Benito County Sheriff's helmets and vests. Photo by Noe Magaña.

As Ukraine is under attack by Russian forces, San Benito County residents are finding ways to help relieve some of those affected by the conflict. 

On March 9, the Community Foundation for San Benito County set up its Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief Fund. The Foundation, in conjunction with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the League of California Community Foundations, will identify established nonprofit organizations such as CARE and the Red Cross working on the ground in Ukraine, as well as in Poland and other neighboring countries, to receive the funds to help women and children get food, clothing and shelter. 

Donations can be made online through the Foundation’s website, over the phone at (831) 630-1924, or in person at the Epicenter building, 440 San Benito Street in Hollister.

“We have to do what we can,” said Gary Byrne, president/CEO of the Community Foundation. He said community members had asked the foundation to assist and that the nonprofit was glad to do so. 

The San Benito County Sheriff’s Office is also helping. It has sent 27 ballistic helmets and 15 ballistic vests to Ukraine. Though they are outdated in California they can still be used in Ukraine. This is an effort requested by the government of Ukraine through the California Office of Emergency Services. 

Captain Tom Keylon told BenitoLink this donation “will help save lives.” The equipment was picked up by CalOES on March 16. 

Also on March 16, the San Benito Health Foundation sent 25 medical aid kits to St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Los Angeles, a central deposit for donations. The kits will then be shipped to eastern Poland, said the foundation’s Director of Operations Jorge Terrones. 

The kits contain: 

  • Vinyl gloves
  • Maxi pad
  • Sterile Strips
  • Heavy duty bands aids
  • Large gauze pads 4×4
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Self-adhering bandage wrap
  • Rolled gauze

The Sheriff’s Office shared on social media a list of reputable organizations that are involved in helping those affected by the war including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Direct Relief, UNICEF USA and Doctors Without Borders.


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Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.