Fairfax County couple goes on humanitarian journey to help refugees impacted by the war in Ukraine

A Fairfax County couple saw Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and decided to try and help.

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They’re both back in the area and sharing their story with the hopes of raising awareness of the humanitarian tragedy still unfolding.          

Aside from Meredith and Lee Hedrick making this journey to Poland, they also both happen to be Fairfax County High School teachers.

Both also served in the peace corps and felt like they had to do something.

"Every night I’m lying there like what can I do, what can I do to help these people," Meredith Hedrick, a teacher at Annandale High School told FOX 5.

The Hedrick’s paid their own way to volunteer for World Central Kitchen in a Polish border town called Przemysl, where Ukrainians were fleeing the Russian invasion.

They have two boys here, so went separately, Meredith in early May, Lee last month.

Meredith greeted refugees who were trying to get out of the country and trying to decide what to do next.

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Her peace corps past and current role as a teacher meant she had experience in dealing with those needing help, but being on the ground helped her realize the atrocities of this war. 

"I think it was Wednesday when I met a couple more refugees and I heard their stories and I took a step back and thought ‘ok, this is a war’ At the beginning you’re serving food, you’re meeting people. But then on Wednesday it really sinks in that this is really intense and really serious," Meredith said.

Lee worked as a volunteer in the kitchen, helping prepare meals for those refugees to be distributed at humanitarian sites along the Poland-Ukraine border.

He says it doesn’t take time to notice it’s mostly women and children, the men stayed back to fight.

"When you’re helping people out, you’re trying to make a warm and comforting experience for them, but you realize that they’ve gone through so much trauma and difficulty in their lives. And it’s just one parent trying to take care of their family," Lee said.

The Hedrick’s really emphasizing tonight that this war rages on with no apparent end in sight.


They are encouraging people to donate to either World Central Kitchen or look for organizations through a site called Blue Check to ensure people’s money meant to help is being spent properly.