'It's our job to give back.' LI man from Ukraine collects donations to help feed Ukrainians

West Islip resident Tom Birkoff, who was adopted by a Long Island family, is collecting donations for the citizens of his native country.

News 12 Staff

Mar 23, 2022, 9:57 PM

Updated 761 days ago

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A Ukrainian man adopted by a Long Island family is collecting donations for the citizens of his native country.
West Islip resident Tom Birkoff grew up with his childhood friend Zhenya at an orphanage is Ukraine.
Zhenya is now a police officer in their native home city of Kharkiv.
Birkoff says Zhenya is working under "very" dangerous conditions to buy food on the outskirts of the city and drive it to those who need it.
"It goes back to our childhood, when we were younger, people helped us in the orphanage and people gave us things," Birkoff says. "And now it's our job to as we've grown to give back."
Birkoff says he has been able to raise more than $3,000 from donations he got from Long Islanders to send to Zhenya in Ukraine
He says he'll keep collecting money for his childhood friend. He said Zhenya will continue to help the people of his city no matter how dangerous it gets.
"I'm scared and this is scary, but it's the will that's driving me," Birkoff says "It's helping people that's getting me past the fear."
Birkoff says he is limiting donations of supplies because it's too expensive to get them to Ukraine, but he is still accepting monetary donations.


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