Rachael Ray Visits Ukraine to Help Get Supplies to Displaced Families: 'So Overwhelming'

Rachael Ray is helping distribute critical first aid kits to Ukrainians across the country

Rachael Ray Ukraine
Photo: Ukraine Friends Instagram

Rachael Ray is the latest celebrity chef to provide on-the-ground aid in Ukraine.

The Food Network star posted a series of Instagram Stories on Sunday from Lviv, Ukraine, documenting displaced Ukrainian families and children taking buses out of the city's train station to neighboring countries. Ray was helping out with Ukraine Friends, an organization that provides life-saving supplies, including Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs) around the country.

According to her Instagram Story, the Rachael Ray Foundation donated one thousand critical first aid kits to the frontlines of Eastern Ukraine.

In a video from her Story, also posted on the organization's Instagram, the celebrity chef and Ukraine Friends co-founder Teddy Raskin were standing in front of buses as families fled the city.

"This is incredible that everyone's life is reduced to this — putting your whole world into some plastic bags," she said, referring to suitcases being loaded on the bottom of buses, which were provided by Operation White Stork, a Ukrainian evacuation organization who partners with Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and Ukraine Friends.

"It's just so overwhelming, but I'm trying not to cry in front of these guys. I'm trying to cheer 'em up," she added.

In the video, she was seeing off the third bus of the morning.

"It's incredible," she said of the organization's operations. "And to watch its wheels in motion, literally, is great."

Rachael Ray Ukraine
Rachael Ray delivered hundreds of toys to local children in orphanages and hospitals. Ukraine Friends Instagram

The talk show host posted several photos to her Instagram Story, including one of a cobblestone street in Lviv. "Waking up in Lviv," she wrote. "A beautiful city with beautiful soul and beautiful people."

She continued with a photo of a building's basement windows covered with sandbags, "But the signs of war are around every corner."

Rachael Ray Ukraine
Teddy Raskin Instagram

Along with more images of monuments around the city shielded in shutters, she posted an emotional photo of a shrine with pictures of Ukrainians on a wall completely covered in flowers.

Another photo she posted to her Story was of a young girl standing in front of a bus loaded with suitcases, "Families and children leaving their lives behind," she wrote.

Ray is one of many celebrities helping Ukrainian aid efforts. In April, Liev Schreiber joined José Andrés' World Central Kitchen to cook a traditional Passover feast for refugees in Poland.

Rachael Ray Ukraine
Rachael Ray Instagram

One of the dishes they made was a massive batch of borscht for 1,500 people.

"World Central Kitchen continues to be the rockstar NGO serving and feeding those who have lost nearly everything," Schreiber captioned an Instagram photo of himself and another volunteer posing in front of the meal.

Jessica Seinfeld and chef Marc Murphy also volunteered in the World Central Kitchen hub that same week, which Seinfeld said was an "extraordinary operation" on the border of Poland and Ukraine.

Russia first launched its attack on Ukraine in February, making it the first major land conflict in Europe in decades. The United Nations says over 6 million Ukrainians have fled the country.

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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