Dancing with the Stars alum Maksim Chmerkovskiy, 42, fled Ukraine following the horrific invasion by Russia on February 22. And one day after Maksim arrived safely back in the United States to be with his wife Peta Murgatroyd, 35, and 5-year-old son, Shai Aleksander, Maksim’s Ukrainian-born father Aleksandr Chmerkovskiy, started Ukrainian relief charity Baranova27 to help those being affected by the horrific war that is still going on. Since its inception on March 3, the Chmerkovskiy family’s organization has raised nearly $120,000 which is being used to send more than 135,000 pounds of goods to Ukraine!
According to a post on March 17 on Baranova27’s official Instagram, in just 11 days they have received an unbelievable amount of donated goods, including 22,000 pounds of “childcare, food, and hygiene products”, as well as 30,000 pounds of “medical and soldier supplies.” In addition, the humanitarian relief organization — which is based in Fort Lee, New Jersey — has 85,000 pounds of goods that are either in transit to Ukraine, or on the way to the warehouse, where it will be packaged and sent to Ukraine over the course of the next several months.
In order to send 270 pallets of goods across the ocean, they needed to raise $100,000, which they did via GoFundMe. The crowd-sourcing initiative was started on March 10 by Maks’s dad. In the intro section on his GoFundMe, Aleksandr explained exactly how this money was being used. “Baranova27 and all of its efforts are 100% volunteer-based. People from all over have rallied together and have offered not just donations but their time and resources to provide real help to the families and frontline heroes in Ukraine who need it the most. In the first 4 days, we have boxed over 40,000 lbs of humanitarian aid! The current financial hurdle we are facing is shipping costs. Estimated Shipping Cost: $100,000,” he wrote, adding that “100% of the money collected through this fundraiser will be put towards our efforts to help Ukraine.”
As HollywoodLife reported, prior to fleeing Ukraine, Maks shared several videos of himself. In the caption to one of his videos, he wrote, “There’s ALWAYS another way! WAR is NEVER an answer! Everyone was hoping that the finality of this situation would be averted, that it’s not going to be this kind of aggression, this kind of aggressive measures.” However, since returning from Ukraine, Maks has only been sharing videos of the devastation back home. On March 18, Peta shared a video on her Instagram story, which showed, Maks’s father hanging the flag of Ukraine in the charity’s New Jersey warehouse. Below the video that appeared on her story, she wrote, “My father-in-law.”