Mansfield Rotary Hears of Local Ukrainian Relief Effort

By Van Reece

Hewitt Strange, son of Mansfield natives Fran Hewitt Strange and Griff Strange, was the featured speaker at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Mansfield Rotary Club this week.

Strange has formed a non-profit that is bringing housing to Ukrainian Refugees in the Polish city of Krakow.

With many of Mansfield and DeSoto Parish’s leaders in attendance, Strange told the Club about his efforts starting a non-profit organization called “Zero Camps” in Krakow, Poland.  They have leased two hotels and an apartment building in Krakow that feed and house refugees from the war in the Ukraine. 

An acquaintance made years ago by Strange while visiting Krakow was the key to launching the refugee relief project.  After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and the large flow of refugees into Poland, Strange reestablished the link to his friend from years ago.

Strange told the Rotarians, “I knew we could make a difference.  There was lots of vacant property in Krakow as a result of the pandemic.”  He said the first leased a vacant hotel and went to the train station where refugees were arriving and offered them a place to stay.

Strange said, “There are over four million refugees in Poland.  To date we have been able to offer housing to about 1,200.”  They formed a non-profit called “Zero Camps.”  They leased a second hotel, then an apartment building of two room flats.  They currently house 130 families and are helping relocate and feed many others.

Rotary of Mansfield is totally behind and supportive of “Zero Camps” as is Rotary International in partnership with Rotary of Krakow.  Strange said people in the parish can support their efforts by looking them up on social media and donating there.

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