MALDEN, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A local fitness coach is headed to Poland this weekend to help feed Ukrainian refugees that have fled the war.
Julio Salado is volunteering in Przemyśl, Poland, on the border of eastern Ukraine, and spoke to WBZ's Laurie Kirby (@LaurieKirbyWBZ). Salado is going to the country via World Central Kitchen, which has set up hot meal kitchens at the country's eight border crossings with Ukraine and in many other countries. He takes off on Saturday.
Having been on the other side of the free food lines in his life, Julio knows how it feels to get a hot meal when life has brought you down.
"It's not just a meal, right? It's actually hope," he said.
"When I see what I see there, I see a grandmother, a mother a father a brother a sister, so what we're witnessing...is that human connection, and the despair," he said. "I know once you get in that environment, even if it's temporary, getting your meals and sitting down and eating, you get hope."
The U.N. says almost 2.7 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to the country —by far the most of any host country since Russia's invasion started in February.
Salado — who many call "Coach Julio" — says its his first time ever travelling internationally, and he's paying for everything out of pocket. To that end, he's created a GoFundMe to help pay for expenses, and has already beaten his $2800 goal.