Merski hosting drive to aid Ukrainian refugees in Erie’s sister city in Poland

Collecting blankets, other essential items to help thousands arriving in Lublin

ERIE, March 14 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is hosting a necessities drive to help thousands of Ukrainian refugees who are arriving in Erie’s sister city of Lublin, Poland, which lies about 70 miles from the Ukrainian border. 

Merski said that for many in Erie, the crisis in Ukraine hits close to home.

“Erie has a vibrant Ukrainian community, and people are desperately worried for loved ones still in Ukraine or fleeing for safety,” Merski said. “My wife, Emily, and I have friends in Erie’s sister city of Lublin, Poland, which is not far from the border. When we reached out to them, we learned that tens of thousands of refugees are arriving.

“Lublin residents have opened their arms and hearts, but they need our help. Officials there have provided a list of needed items, and I know our community will step up – as it always does in times of crisis – to help.”

Merski said residents should bring the following to his 3901 Liberty St. office Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.:

  • Space blankets/thermal blankets/sleeping bags/sleeping pads (foil covered)/mats.
  • Raincoats/men’s, women’s and children’s underwear/thermoactivated underwear.
  • Body soap/bodywash/toothpaste/toothbrushes/hairbrushes.
  • Adult diapers/children’s diapers/sanitary pads.
  • Reusable (food-grade silicon or plastic) deep dishes, spoons, forks, knives, cups.
  • Paper towels/microfiber towels.
  • Reusable masks/package of disposable masks.
  • Food supplies: energy bars/dried fruits/nuts/canned food/noodles.
  • Batteries/candles/personal first aid kits/antiseptic.

Merski said that in addition to bringing items to his office, residents can also bring items to any of the local Polish Catholic churches – St. Stanislaus, Holy Trinity, Our Mother of Sorrows, and St. Hedwig – during weekend Masses; to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church; or to various social clubs throughout the county.

Merski also contacted Mayor Joe Schember, who is aware of and supports the efforts. Anyone with questions can contact Merski’s office at 814-455-6319.

“So many in Erie have opened their hearts and asked how they can help the refugees,” Merski said. “We can’t give them back their homes or their former lives, but we can let them know we are here to help.”