DENVER — It's been nearly a year since the war in Ukraine started. Since then, a Denver family has been working to help those who are impacted.
“It's important for us to continue supporting them because they still need our support," said Johnathan McFarlane.
When the war first began in February of 2022, his family stepped up to help right away. The family launched a Ukrainian pallet flag fundraiser to collect money for different organizations.
It all started when Johnathan's father, John McFarlane, went to purchase a Ukrainian flag.
“I got the last one. And I just thought that was, 'What's everybody else gonna do?' So, yeah, we came up with the idea," said John.
Denver7 first spoke to the McFarlane family back in March of 2022. During that interview, Johnathan said they were devastated to see what families were going through and wanted to do their part to help.
"I think about my daughter and what would happen if we were in that situation, getting her and my wife out of the country and me having to stay behind, it's tough to think about what that would be like," he said.
The McFarlanes told Denver7 they were grateful to see their fundraiser gain so much attention.
"A lot of that was due to you, quite frankly, the publicity was huge. And anytime, there was a couple of stories that were running. You know, we knew the day after, we had to really start churning out more flags," said John.
The family said that over the course of a year, they've sold more than 700 pallet flags and have raised more than $22,000 to send to different organizations.
"Project Dynamo, they help get high-risk people out of the war zone. So I think we've sent them somewhere around five grand. International Rescue Committee, we sent them five or six grand as well. And then the rest of that money, there's all sorts of other kind of smaller organizations and even just people on the ground we've helped," said Johnathan.
Their fundraising efforts have also expanded since they first started. They are now selling merchandise on their website, PalletsForUkraine.com
"We launched a bunch of an apparel online. You can get mugs, stickers, hats, T-shirts, hoodies, all that kind of stuff. And you can do that from anywhere. So it's not just people in the Denver community, anywhere around the country can order now," said Johnathan.
The supply and demand for the pallet flags has gone down. They only have about a dozen left as of Monday. But the family said they are willing to keep selling them if people want to help.
They're encouraging community members to reach out to them through their website if anyone would like to donate time or supplies to make the flags.
"I don't know what's coming next. But I know that we're going to be here, we're going to be working on it for as long as the Ukrainian people need us," said Johnathan. “Even if the war was over today, this is not something that's going to go away. I mean, there's entire Ukrainian cities that have been completely leveled. There's millions of people that are still outside of the country with no place to go back to," he added.