NewsLocal News


Gilbert man in Poland helping non-profit assist Ukraine refugees

Ukraine non-profits.png
Posted at 4:53 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 21:25:41-04

GILBERT, AZ — Richard Nungesser, Founder and International Director of Bread of Life International first met with ABC15 in early March in Gilbert, Arizona.

Nungesser an ASU grad lives there with his wife and children. His non-profit works in 37 cities across Poland. ABC15 spoke with Nungesser Wednesday, while he serves on the ground in Poznan, Poland.

Earlier this week, Nungesser and his team of seven were stationed on the polish side of the Ukrainian border.

"We went to Dorohusk, and we were there with the refugees as they were crossing the border,” says Nungesser. “It was very, I guess, a tragic experience. To be there to witness because more than 100,000 refugees are crossing the border each and every day coming into Poland.”

Nungesser was less than 90 miles from the latest Russian missile attack that killed 35 people in Ukraine.

"A grandmother with her child just crossed the border. She stood right next to me. She took her first steps into Poland. And she was just relieved and lit up a sigh that she was safe. She made it,” Nungesser recalls.

"The firefighters are picking up refugees, walking across, and taking them to a reception point. And they're at the reception point for some people who have no friends, no access to anywhere, and just really lots of orientation, not knowing where to go. They're able to find help,” says Nungesser.

Bread of Life International is also giving out donations they’ve received.

"At the border, there's several tents with, like if you had like an open market of people selling items, but nothing was for sale. Everything was for free,” says Nungesser. “People had donated items where refugees crossing the border were able to get whatever's needed food, supplies, you know, even toys for kids are available.”

Nungesser’s team is planning to bring humanitarian aid into Ukraine, like first aid, clean water, and food. He puts into perspective the gravity of the refugee crisis in Poland.

"I'm not sure how many people are in the West Valley or the East Valley per se,” Nungesser continues. “But imagine everyone getting up and leaving. Their homes, their cars, some, their animals, you know, their businesses, whatever, and then not just walking to the Westside of the Valley but maybe making the journey all the way to Los Angeles. And they're hoping that people could take you into their homes, not knowing where you would go. But not just Los Angeles. It's a completely different language, different culture.”

Richard is planning to move back to Poland with his family in July, after living there, the first time, for 20 years.

"Many people asked like, do you want to move back to Poland at this moment in time? You know when there's a possible World War III? And we'll do our best to move and to do the work that we can here in Poland and also in Moldova,” says Nungesser.

Richard is leaving Poland Thursday morning, but his efforts won’t stop if you feel called to help.