For Pavel Kokhanevich, the crisis in Ukraine is hitting close to home.

“It's heartbreaking,” said Kokhanevich. “It's overwhelming.”

The Ukrainian native who moved to Erie, PA, 24 years ago, has many family and friends who still live there.

"We are trying to get a hold of them, trying to get them here, but it's not that easy,” said Kokhanevich. “We're working on it, and are trying to get them here as soon as we can."

Kokhanevich is doing everything he can to help his loved ones from afar.

Members of Grace Slavic Pentecostal and First Ukrainian Pentecostal have joined forces, to collect donations for the people of Ukraine.

Over the past month, they've collected enough items to fill five shipping containers.

On Tuesday, the filled two of those containers at a warehouse on West 20th Street.

The group has been collecting money, clothing, and food for the people of Ukraine.

According to Kokhanevich, their biggest needs right now are money and food.

"Money is very important because it costs a lot of money to ship,” said Kokhanevich. “The more financing we have, the more we can ship. We get donations, we send them directly in helping out people locally there, through support."

Kokhanevich describes the community support as overwhelming.

"I'm so grateful to the Erie community,” said Kokhanevich. “I’m blown away by support, and how much people came out and brought so much stuff, and appreciate everybody who came out and helped."

Kokhanevich says they will host two more collection drives this week on Wednesday and Saturday, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.