Morristown High grad raises money for Ukrainian refugees in Poland

A lot has changed since January, when the Morristown High School alum Sam Bensley (’10) and a friend booked an April weekend in Poland.

When he arrives in Krakow on Thursday, his plans to visit historic sites and sample the city’s nightlife will be overshadowed by an urgent mission: to bring aid to Ukrainian refugees.

Morristown High grad graduate Sam Bensley founded SOMOS the Nicaragua Project, a non-profit organization.

“It would be remiss of us not to do our part to contribute,” said Bensley, 30, who lives in Bristol, England, where he works for a German grocery chain.

On the association’s Facebook page, SOMOS The Nicaraguan projectBensley is nearing his goal of raising $5,000 for Ukrainian aid.

It is also soliciting donations of over-the-counter hygiene products for refugees fleeing the Russian invasion which is now entering its third month.

Bensley said he would provide the aid to Salam Laba non-governmental organization working with other agencies to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

More than 5 million Ukrainians have fled their ravaged homeland, the UN estimates. Last week, Poland received nearly 2.9 million, according to UN figures cited by the BBC.

More than 150,000 refugees have come to Krakow, a 20% increase in the population of Poland’s second largest city, NPR reported earlier this month.

Since he created SOMOS The Nicaragua Project in 2014, Bensley calculates that he has shipped more than seven tons of donated sports equipment to the Central American country.

A former club wrestler at Rutgers and current recreational football player in the UK, Bensley sees youth sports as a way to nurture the values ​​of leadership, teamwork and healthy lifestyle in the poor parts of Nicaragua, a place he came to love on family trips.

One of the Polish sites he intended to visit was Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp. Now Bensley will witness the human toll of Europe’s worst conflict since World War II.

He plans to be in Krakow until this Sunday, May 1, 2022. Tax-deductible donations can be made on the SOMOS-page, Bensley said.

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