West Palm Beach man returns from trip to help Ukrainian refugees

'It's one of the most devastating things I've ever seen,' Aaron Jackson says
Posted at 4:17 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 19:49:24-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach man is now back home after a remarkable trip to help refugees at the Ukrainian border with Poland.

SPECIAL SECTION: Latest updates on the Russia-Ukraine conflict

Aaron Jackson tried to put into words his trip to help Ukraine.

"It's one of the most devastating things I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot," Jackson said.

Aaron Jackson, West Palm Beach man who went to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees
Aaron Jackson explains the conditions the refugees are facing as they escape Ukraine.

He experienced it for six weeks, starting with his first day on Feb. 28 at a massive shelter.

Jackson worked with the organization Planting Peace to help those who fled the Russian invasion and searched for housing.

"You just start with one. You find somebody, and you start there and help them and once you get them into housing and you move on to the next and you move on to the next," Jackson said.

He said the frightened families fled with only the items they could carry, unsure of their future.

"We would find housing that would be a hotel or Airbnb, any type of housing we could find, a short-term rental," Jackson said.

Ukrainian refugee, April 6, 2022
Larisa Pradko, a refugee from Kharkiv, holds her cat Felix after fleeing the war from neighboring Ukraine at the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland, Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

He said Planting Peace was able to set up housing for a month for the families leaving Ukraine.

He believes he helped as many as 130 families to safety including their pets.

"They’re all frightened. They’re all scared. They all don't know what's next," Jackson said.

Now that he is home, Jackson said Planting Peace is continuing to help refugees crossing the border.

He said Americans are able to help many of the relief efforts.

"Monetary contributions are the best way to go, that way charities can buy stuff on the ground and quickly move in whatever it is they are trying to do," Jackson said.