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NJ Town Mayor Goes To Poland To Help Ukrainian Refugees

Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra said he expects to remain in Poland until the middle of next week, helping as many people as he can along the way

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There are a lot of ways that Americans have been trying to help Ukrainians impacted by the Russian invasion, but one New Jersey mayor is taking it a step further and heading over to the region to help in person.

Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra traveled to Poland in order to help refugees escape from Ukraine and the violence that the war-torn country has seen over the past 10 days. He said he was compelled to go help because half of his family is Polish and Slovakian.

"It's been an incredibly heart-wrenching and emotional last 24 hours since we touched ground here," Kanitra said.

The mayor made the journey with a friend, and so far they have spent time in a refugee center and at Poland's border with Ukraine.

"We see how much need there is, there's probably five to 10 people coming across the border every minute or so," he said.

Kanitra brough five suitcases full of items for the refugees, all donated by members of his local community back home in New Jersey. People in Point Pleasant Beach feel a special bond with Ukrainians because so many have worked summer jobs at local attractions over the years.

"Remembering all this and seeing what they do for our community, it's just the natural thing to do to give back as much as we can," said Marla Morris, a local boutique owner.

Kanitra said he expects to remain in Poland until the middle of next week, helping as many people as he can along the way.

"At the end of this trip, we're gonna post online what charities are making the most difference, what supplies really are needed, how people can get things realistically to the frontlines here," he said.

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