Breaking News
More () »

Indianapolis man volunteering in Poland talks about enormous task feeding thousands of Ukrainian refugees

Brian Rund helps rally others in a kitchen in Poland, where volunteers gather daily to help families escaping a war zone.

INDIANAPOLIS — On Tuesday, President Joe Biden had harsh words for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, referring to his actions in Ukraine as genocide.

As Russia turns its attention to eastern parts of the country, new atrocities are being reported daily from areas where troops retreated near Kyiv.

As millions of refugees seek sanctuary across the border, countless volunteers are rushing to help, including an Indianapolis chef who traveled to Poland intending to help in any way he could.

“Hands in the middle, Ukraine on three. One, two, three, Ukraine!” 

That’s the rallying cry Brian Rund shouts every morning in a kitchen in Poland, along with hundreds of others who have gathered there from around the world, all with the same mission: To feed people who have fled the war in Ukraine.

“One of the things working in this big kitchen, you get a feel for the enormous amount of food it takes to feed even 10,000 people, which is a fraction, just a tiny fraction of two-and-a-half million,” Rund said via Zoom Tuesday.

Rund spoke from from the Airbnb in Poland, staying there while helping to feed refugees from Ukraine. 

“We go through a pallet of cheese a day and a pallet of salami. Today would have been 100,000 slices of salami and 40,000 slices of cheese,” said Rund.

RELATED: Indianapolis man traveling to Poland to cook for Ukrainian refugees

He's referring to the enormous amount of food needed for people who have just fled a war zone and left everything behind, many showing up in Poland with just the clothes on their backs and what they could carry. 

“A lot of these people haven’t eaten food for God knows how long,” said Rund. 

Most of them are women and children. 

“Mothers with children and older people,” Rund explained. “I can’t even imagine what’s going through their minds."

He doesn’t have to, because he’s heard the stories from people who have seen the atrocities of war. 

RELATED: Indiana nursing homes collecting supplies for Ukrainians impacted by war

“What people will tell you who’ve been in Ukraine is that it’s much worse than what we see on TV. It’s horrifying, and that’s something that never leaves my mind,” said Rund. 

Still, every morning, Rund returns to a kitchen with hundreds of other volunteers, each trying to stay encouraged because the mission is so much greater than any one person. 

“We need to help them. It’s the right thing to do,” said Rund of the Ukrainian refugees.

What other people are reading: 

Before You Leave, Check This Out