Eugene man recounts helping refugees in Eastern Europe

EUGENE, Ore. —A Eugene resident has just returned home, after three weeks of volunteering at the Ukrainian border. Like many, Bill Sharp was looking for a way to help out in Eastern Europe during the war.

“I was increasingly torn by what I was seeing happening in Ukraine,” said Sharp.

A friend reached out to him about an opportunity to help out. The two decided to make the 20-hour trip together.

“He said he was going to Poland to help with refugee aid and I said I’m coming with you,” said Sharp.

They found out about World Central Kitchen, an organization dedicated to providing meals in the wake of disasters. The organization has provided tens of millions of meals to people in need.

“The first week when you go volunteer there you go work in the kitchen and they take over warehouses fix it up really nicely and just make mega quantities for food,” said Sharp.

On the Polish side of the Ukrainian border in a town called Przemysl, he joined other volunteers in making food, wrapping sandwiches, and giving out food to those in need. Sharp says the town he was volunteering in has a population of 66,000 people. In the first two weeks after the war started, Przemysl had 350,000 refugees come through.

“It was so rewarding that it felt easier, it did not feel like work that’s the best way to describe it, I think everyone felt that way,” said Sharp.

Sharp says some of the group was working at a tent distribution center open 24 hours a day, where people could come to get as much food as they want and stay as long as they need. He says the Ukrainians were incredibly grateful for the meals.

He returned home to Eugene on Tuesday, after an experience that will stay with him, forever.

“This was definitely the experience of a lifetime and I don’t plan on it being my only such experience, I definitely wanna go back there,” said Sharp.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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