Photo by New York Yankees Foundation
ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – One Saratoga Springs native has been dedicated to helping families in Ukraine for the past five months. This summer, New York’s top Major League Baseball team has decided to join his efforts.
“I’m a karma investor. I get out of the world what I put into it,” Israel said. “So, I live my best life when I’m helping this world.”
When Russia first invaded Ukraine, Israel knew he had to do something. His wife, Katarzyna, is from Poland. Thus, the family has a home in Poland, a car, and the ability to speak Polish. In his words, “the stars aligned.” Israel became a free Uber driver of sorts—taking countless Ukrainian families from the border to refugee centers in Poland.
From there, he created an organization called Letters of Hope for Ukraine. He gathered letters filled with well-wishes from those in the U.S. The envelopes also contained $20 bills for refugees on their journeys.
“Some Ukraine families were able to get out and drive out, but there was nowhere to exchange the Ukrainian currency,” Israel said. “That’s where we thought this $20—with the exchange rate turns into about 80 Polish zloty—could get some gas in their tank, could get them a meal, and could get them a safe place for the night.”
Israel said Letters of Hope has touched around a thousand lives. In addition to letters, the organization has raised money for food, shelter, and even some toys for children. Israel and his wife have also personally assisted several families in Poland and those who have come to the U.S.
One Major League Baseball team took notice of Israel’s efforts. On July 13, the New York Yankees donated $10,000 to his organization. On top of that, the team invited Adam and his family to a luncheon with some Yankee players, and Israel was asked to throw out the game’s first pitch.
It was an incredible day for Adam at Yankee Stadium, but he said it’s all about keeping Ukraine in the spotlight. Donations for Letters of Hope for Ukraine can be made through the 501(c)3 Non-Profit The Giving Circle.