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Chefs and restaurants in CT help raise money to feed Ukrainian refugees

Jami Kopec, a chef for a catering company and DiBella's Subs are raising funds to help out World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization.

CONNECTICUT, USA — With Ukrainian families fleeing their homes, the need for food has been greater than ever, but one global organization is making sure no one goes hungry. 

World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization is stationed all around the world. Right now, they are in Poland feeding hot meals to refugees coming across the border at all hours. 

The initiative has gotten so many people involved, including some in Connecticut. 

"I felt like it was a little bit of a calling," said Jami Kopec of Southbury. 

Kopec is a mother of an eight-year-old child while juggling her job as a chef for a catering company in Norwalk. 

RELATED: 1 million children leave behind lives, friends in Ukraine

When she heard about the families' escape to Poland, she immediately signed up to be a volunteer for World Central Kitchen, an organization that has fed thousands of families during humanitarian crises and natural disasters. 

It just so happened not too long ago, she met the founder of World Central Kitchen which became even more inspiring. 

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"I have an eight-year-old daughter, so seeing the photos of the children coming in and like I just want to feed them, if I could, I would take them back home so it's just ... that really pulls on me because in a matter of days, minutes - they lost everything," said Kopec. 

She learned the Russian language when she was a teenager but rarely got to use it until now. 

With no set plans on how to get to Poland, she is hoping the community will help support her cause. 

RELATED: In Connecticut's cities, donations pour in to support Ukraine

"There's a lot of prep work done to get sandwiches together or soups, hot chocolate I saw they were giving to the refugees," added Kopec. 

World Central Kitchen has received not just help from individuals but from businesses and chains like DiBella's Subs which has locations in 43 countries. 

On Wednesday, customers started to see the fundraiser screen when they paid for their orders in-store or online. It asked if they wanted to round up their order as a monetary donation. 

"You can go to order at Dibellas.com or you can find it right on Dibellas.com on our website and you can place your order with DiBella's, you can donate one, three, five or 10 dollars on your order or if you visit us in-store, you can round up your purchase to the nearest dollar," said AJ Schear, director of marketing of DiBella's Subs. 

That dollar will turn into food for a hungry family in Poland. 

"Food makes a difference in people's lives and if we can provide a hot meal or at least facilitate somebody else for providing a hot meal, I mean, it can completely change somebody's day," said Schear.

If you'd like to donate, email jsamuelson418@gmail.com and you can Venmo or Paypal her at the same e-mail address. 

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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