The family of Nicole (Portner) Malantchouk, a Hoboken resident who works at Stevens Institute of Technology, is facing the unimaginable. Her husband Roman Malantchouk, who owns the Hoboken-based architecture and design firm walkTHIShouse, is a Ukraine native who made his way to the States as a child. His family still resides in Chervonohrad, Ukraine, which is roughly 30 miles from the Poland border. Nicole and Roman explained that many Ukrainian women and children have been fleeing the eastern cities and staying in Chervonohrad. Over the past month, the couple has raised over $70,000 to purchase medical supplies, food, and housing for refugees in and around Chervonohrad.
After hearing stories of what was happening in his hometown of Chervonohrad, Roman and Nicole, as well as his family overseas sprung into action with an online fundraiser.
“I called my sister and we decided the immediate thing we could do was raise money to get the people in our hometown the supplies they need. I have contacts through my business and she had colleagues globally. Our spouses had contacts. Over a weekend, I built a website and set up social media accounts,” Roman told Inc.com. “We started a GoFundMe campaign, but it wasn’t getting approved immediately so I did the same thing I did when I started my business: Just start and figure out a better way later on. I texted and emailed people my personal Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle accounts.”
He continued, “In the first 10 hours, we raised $25,000. We gathered supply lists from families in Chervonohrad. My uncle flew back, and he and his friends started shuttling medical supplies, diapers, clothing, and first-aid kits through a friends-and-family network–anyone who has trucks or buses. We’re focusing on direct and immediate help. ”
The family grass-roots effort will continue to need monetary donations to continue to supply the Ukrainians fleeing their cities with necessary supplies. You can make a donation online via GiveButter. Learn more about the Malantchouk mission here.