UPDATE: Marquette family accepting donations for Ukrainian relief effort makes first delivery

The Ampe Family has two adopted children from the country whose biological families were displaced when Russia invaded.
The Ampe Family has two adopted children from the country whose biological families were displaced when Russia invaded.
Published: Apr. 3, 2022 at 7:32 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 16, 2022 at 8:43 AM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE April 15: A Marquette family transporting emergency supplies into Ukraine has delivered its first shipment with more on the way.

The Ampe family has felt a connection to Ukraine since adopting two of their sons from the country. When the crisis began there, the Ampes started fundraising to deliver medical supplies and other necessities to Ukraine. They now estimate that they have already sent over $50,000 worth of supplies in aid. Their GoFundMe has already raised over $5,000 dollars. Joe Ampe is currently in Ukraine and has delivered 30 bags of medical supplies from U.P. donors.

“We’ve received many messages from people saying how good they felt to be in the Upper Peninsula. Maybe they haven’t been home in years to Ukraine, or maybe they’re a second or third generation from Ukraine, but this touched them, that they were really being supported in this way,” said Tiffany Ampe.

Four trucks of supplies have also been delivered to Ukraine as of Friday. Joe Ampe’s next trip to Ukraine will be on May 2. They hope to provide more funds for ultrasounds and ventilators.

A Marquette family with two Ukrainian children is accepting donations for those displaced in the country’s conflict with Russia.

The Ampes adopted now 4-year-old Henrik and 5-year-old Cazimir from Ukraine in 2018, creating special ties between the couple and the country. Tiffany Ampe says her family’s relationship with each child’s biological family has been really great, but since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, things have been very nerve-wracking.

“We are very close with Henrik’s biological family,” Ampe said. She continued, “We have been in constant contact long before this. Tt’s genuinely been a positive relationship where we focus on the restoration of him having a family, living in a community where he’s accepted, and having access to healthcare. However, now that’s shifted, there’s obviously a lot of terror, distraught feelings and suffering.”

Each boy’s biological family was displaced when Russia invaded in February. Both in desperate need of supplies, the Ampes decided to ask the Upper Michigan community for donations to help. “We see the huge need inside Ukraine for the civilians that are living there and we’re trying to answer that need by providing them with medical supplies,” Tiffany Ampe said.

While the family is accepting all medical supplies, Ampe says the most important need right now is money for ventilators. “Our focus right now is on securing more vents. That’s something that’s an investment in long-term healthcare,” Ampe said. “It’s not just satisfying a need right now, but it’s something that the Ukrainians can use in the future.”

St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph Parishes Pastor Fr. Ryan Ford says he has known the Ampe family for over 10 years. Fr. Ford adds that he was eager to get the Ishpeming Catholic community involved in donation efforts for Ukraine.

“We are committing some thousands of dollars from our churches, what’s raised from our Lenten almsgiving as well as our Tuesday soup suppers that we’ve had throughout Lent,” Fr. Ford said.

Ampe says Yoopers have been extremely generous, giving money for everything from diapers and baby formula for families with children, to trauma packs for frontline fighters. Donations are being sorted at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Ishpeming.

A few members of the Ampe Family plan to travel to Poland, crossing into Ukraine to deliver the supplies later this month. The family is still accepting monetary and in-kind donations.

If interested in donating in-kind, you can drop off physical donations such as hand sanitizer, gauze, rubbing alcohol, trauma packs, and more at drop boxes located at St. John the Evangelist Parish or St. Joseph Parish, both in Ishpeming. They are only accepting monetary donations for diapers and formula, which they will buy once they arrive in Poland.

The family has an Amazon wish list set up for all the supplies it needs. You can purchase an item from this list to donate to the family by clicking here.

If you prefer to donate money, you can send it to the Ampe Family PayPal account which is joeampe@gmail.com, to the Venmo account at @stoudtj, or by accessing their GoFundMe, which can be found by clicking here.

All proceeds will be used to buy medical supplies that the Ampe Family plans to bring to Ukrainian families in need later this month.

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