GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A Greensboro man born in Moldova will return to his hometown and assist Ukrainian families seeking safety.
Mark Bochkis has been watching videos of families forced to flee their homes for more than 100 days since the Russian invasion began.
“My initial reaction was just heartbreak and really a large feeling of helplessness and anger and frustration,” he said.
He lived in Balti, Moldova for about 10 years until the mid-90s.
“10 years old you remember a decent bit,” Bochkis said. “I finished four grades of Soviet schooling. I was a Pioneer, which is official participation in the Communist Party.”
Bochkis hasn’t returned since the Greensboro Jewish Federation helped his family resettle in the Triad.
“I remember the neighborhood I grew up in. I remember the school I walked to, the grocery store we’d shop at,” he said. “I’m recognizing the fact that this is my last chance maybe to go see the place where I grew up.
On a 10-day trip to Moldova, Bochkis plans to help provide supplies to families crossing the border out of Ukraine.
“I’m going to be helping out a non-profit called Moldova World Children’s Fund, which is run by a man named Ray West. Ray has a warehouse and a kind of supply chain. He’s bringing in humanitarian aid from North America and Europe,” he explained. “I know he’s short on help, so I’m going to be helping him with anything from physical labor to delivering some of those supplies to the places those need to go.”
Bochkis remembers what it’s like to escape conflict. He hopes to help others seeking safety so many years later.
“You see all the people and all the tragedy and all the suffering, but…they don’t just look like us. They look like my family. They look like my grandparents. They look like my mom and my dad. And that’s a measure of like closeness that I feel,” he said.
Bochkis will leave for Moldova on Sunday.
He encouraged people to continue supporting organizations like the Greensboro Jewish Federation and Coalition of Good, which provide aid from the Triad.