MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida restaurateur is reacting to the unrest in Ukraine. He’s on a mission to help refugees find a place to live, and in order to get the job done, it’s been a team effort.
As the war in Ukraine rages on, the South Florida restaurant owner is determined to make a difference.
“This is a serious, serious crisis,” said David Wallack.
Wallack owns Mango’s Tropical Cafe in South Beach.
He’s partnered with the Global Empowerment Mission, a nonprofit based in Doral that provides disaster aid.
GEM has been sending supplies to Ukraine since the war began.
“We have 2,700 pallets arriving by containers, some have already started arriving. Over 2,000 of those come just from Miami,” said Michael Capponi, founder of GEM.
Wallack traveled to Warsaw, Poland with GEM founder Capponi, where they visited a shelter and witnessed the effects of Russia’s invasion.
“Really these people are in shock and … they have been ripped out of their lives,” said Wallack, “and going now from living cot, to cot, to cot, to cot with literally thousands of cots.”
The trip prompted Wallack to start a fundraiser on June 12 in partnership with GEM and other local agencies, including the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, will also be supporting.
“This is a Miami Beach and City of Miami event that is endorsing the work that Micheal Capponi is doing here for the refugees of Ukraine,” said Wallack, “and for those inside of Ukraine.”
There’s also a way customers can contribute.
“Mangos is setting up a program on our menus to do continuous donations until this whole crisis is over,” said Wallack.
The restaurant will add 25 cents to each check, which will be used by GEM to aid Ukrainians.
The two hope other South Florida restaurants will follow suit.
“If you get every restaurant in Miami and Miami Beach to start doing that, write ‘dime for Ukriane,'” said Capponi, “‘dime for Ukriane,’ you have a little bit of donation tax basically on each check.”
Wallack has pledged $100,000 for his Ukraine fundraiser.
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