Przemyśl, Poland (CNN) — Hundreds of thousands of children are among the two million refugees who fled Ukraine for safety after Russia’s invasion of its neighboring country began two weeks ago.
Women and children have been forced to leave their parents and siblings behind after the Ukrainian government imposed martial law, barring all men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country, according to the State Border Guard.
Most of those who have fled have gone to Poland, western Ukraine, and a big number it has also entered Hungary, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia; the trip, in many cases, lasts several days.
They come with almost nothing.
To help alleviate some of the stress and emotions associated with fleeing Ukraine, strangers in Polish communities are helping refugees settle in with basic necessities in a place that may not feel like home.
A light at the end of the tunnel
Such compassion greets the refugees as they step off the train onto the platform at Przemyśl station.
Strollers, baby carriers, jackets, toys, stuffed animals, diapers, even walkers for the elderly, have filled the area next to the railway.
Everything is free.
The volunteers told CNN that the amount of donations received from people in Poland was overwhelming. The generosity seems to spread largely by word of mouth.
Przemyśl is the first train stop for refugees entering Poland through the Medyka border crossing. Those entering the country have also been greeted with strollers, car seats, clothes and diapers.
The volunteer effort has become more organized over the last week. Dozens of volunteers in yellow vests who speak several languages help the refugees in any way they can. They are now receiving help from people from other European nations.
And help isn’t just available in the form of physical supplies: some people have been holding up signs offering trips to different parts of Europe and volunteers are helping refugees find a place to stay, whether it’s a school gym or families staying They have offered to take in women and children.
“What we fear is a second wave of people who have far fewer resources and connections and who will be far more vulnerable,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
CNN’s Scott McLean contributed to this report.