Some Central Coast residents are making an impact overseas while conflict continues between Ukraine and Russia.
Mihai Pana, a hairstylist at Bladerunner Salon and Spa in San Luis Obispo, is preparing to spend several weeks with his wife and daughter in Romania to assist Ukrainian refugees.
“We’re planning on working with Ukrainian refugees. Romania at the time has almost 800,000 refugees, and we will be right at the border of Romania and Ukraine,” Pana said.
The Pana family will focus on helping refugees by bringing them supplies, food, and goods they need.
“We’re planning on helping with food, clothing, medical, and are sending sprinter vans full of medical and humanitarian aid across the border into villages in Ukraine,” he said.
“He’s such an amazing humanitarian,” said Bladerunner owner Todd LeMay. “I think it speaks to the whole community that little things like this makes a huge difference.”
Pana said he was inspired initially by the work done by his sister-in-law.
“She has been going into Ukraine in and out for the last four to five weeks,” Pana said.
“To the Ukrainian people and the Romanian people we are sending our stuff to, it says a lot that it is coming from so far away and that we think about them every day,” LeMay added.
Meathead Movers, also based in San Luis Obispo, is getting donated medical supplies to the Ukrainian people.
“We have accumulated two trucks worth of medical supplies that are on their way to Ukraine as we speak now,” said Meathead Movers Senior Sales Manager Melissa Martinez.
Meathead Movers worked for several weeks to collect donations in a partnership with Operation USA.
“Our lobby was filled with wardrobe boxes,” Martinez said. “We had to replace several wardrobe boxes. A lot of bandages can fit in a wardrobe box.”
Martinez said the San Luis Obispo Department of Public Health donated nine pallets worth of medical supplies.
“When someone needs help, we do the right thing and help those in need,” she said.
“How do we change the world? A random act of kindness at a time,” Pana added.
The Panas will be leaving for Romania in a little over a month and are accepting donations via PayPal.
“We will go grocery shopping, fill up the vans, drive into Ukraine, and distribute everything we can buy,” Pana said.
The donations for Meathead Movers should be arriving in Ukraine immediately.