Meet the Australian Volunteer on the Ukraine Frontline

Thanks to the generosity of readers, the dire plight of hundreds of Ukrainian refugees has been alleviated.

A volunteer group in the city of Odessa is scrambling to raise much-needed donations to help 200 people who flood their doorsteps every day.

Many have lost everything they own as Russian missiles continue to rain down, destroying their homes, belongings and often loved ones and their hopes for a better future.

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More rocket attacks were endured during Ukraine’s Independence Day last week.

Even a hospital was hit – an act described as a “war crime”.

A hospital in the city of Odessa that was fired upon by Russian rockets. Recognition: 7NEWS

After we shared her story of need with you two weeks ago, thousands of dollars were raised through a GoFundMe page.

Adelaide volunteer Maurice O’Connell is spearheading the fundraiser.

“It’s thanks to companies like Channel 7 that continue to get the story out there,” he told me.

“It is very important that this continues to happen,” he said.

“The focus of the world has shifted away from Ukraine and it’s really important that that doesn’t happen because the need remains great here.”

War refugees from Ukraine are ready to help. Recognition: 7NEWS

There are always sad stories, but also some happy pictures.

Maurice visited an orphanage in Odessa, where children and staff were happily entertained.

A local wizard cast his spell as the darkness and doom of the ongoing conflict continued outside.

“The children here are all war orphans,” Maurice explained.

“Many of these children have been orphaned in recent months,” he said.

Maurice helps distribute food to homeless Ukrainians. Recognition: 7NEWS

“Some of them came from Mariupol, where they lost their parents.

“We’re just trying to bring some joy into their lives.”

But the horror of war is never too far away.

Maurice could also be seen comforting a lost-looking man who hardly speaks English but bears the emotional scars of an entire country.

Misha is now a volunteer at School-35, which has been converted into a refugee shelter.

“It’s the worst story I’ve come across,” Maurice said.

“Misha arrived with his son and looked very upset,” he said.

Another building shattered by Russian missiles in Ukraine. Recognition: 7NEWS

“A Russian shell hit the apartment where he lived, killing his wife and daughter.

“Misha explained that he had to collect his wife’s body parts and bury them in the garden.

“I don’t know how you could ever get over this and how you could forget that.”

That was just an atrocity.

Misha also told Maurice how Russians stormed his neighbor’s house in Mariupol and killed the whole family in cold blood.

These are everyday stories in this war-torn country.

That’s why every dollar helps feed and clothe refugees who have nowhere else to turn.

Maurice O’Connell is infinitely grateful for every dollar he raises on his GoFundMe page.

Every cent goes to those who need it most. Meet the Australian Volunteer on the Ukraine Frontline

James Brien

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