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Ogden business owner in Poland helps Ukrainian refugees

Posted at 5:37 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 20:09:51-04

OGDEN, Utah — An Ogden business owner packed his bags this week and headed to Poland to help Ukrainians refugees.

Jack Knowlden owns two tattoo shops, called "Skin It," in Ogden.

After seeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine play out from his home, he said he felt compelled to go help.

Knowlden raised more than $10,000 to buy supplies for Ukrainians fleeing the country. He said he put up $3,000 of his own money for travel expenses and a rental car.

He's been documenting his entire journey on a Facebook page.

Read - American citizens volunteer to go fight for Ukraine

"They had to warn me of the dangers of heading to where I'm heading, and I'll be safe," Knowlden said Tuesday, before flying out of Salt Lake City International Airport.

Travel took more than 21 hours, stopping in Amsterdam and Hungary, before eventually making his way to Poland. Knowlden has been in the village of Medyka since Wednesday night. He explained that about a quarter mile from the border of Ukraine, there is a checkpoint for them to be provided with supplies before refugees board buses to other destinations.

"Before they can get to the bus, to get to wherever their end result is, we try to supply them, because they can only carry so much," said Knowlden.

Knowlden tells FOX 13 News when he arrived in Medyka, he found many other volunteers with tents set up, ready to help the Ukrainian people.

"Hot cocoa, hot coffee, food, fruit coats, diapers, baby formula, anything that they could need, they're taken care of," said Knowlden.

Knowlden says he has met volunteers from near and far, including one group of people from India, who had a food truck set up.

Read - Utah nonprofit looking for local volunteers and monetary donations to assist Ukraine

He says he's made several runs to the grocery store in his short time there to get food and other supplies.

"This morning started filling grocery carts and running back and forth, met up with some other volunteers so I could use their tents to keep the food stocked up in their stations," said Knowlden.

Knowlden says he has two children, a nine year old and three year old. He says seeing how Russia's invasion on Ukraine has impacted the children over there really stuck with him. Which is why he says making just one or two kids smile has made his trip worth it.

"Even when I try to approach them at first they're scared, but to see them smile when you give them that hot cocoa or that piece of chocolate like that just sticks with you."

Knowlden's return flight is set for March 31st, but since he bought a flex ticket, he says he will stay as long as needed to help out.