OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Realty ONE Group asked for donations for kids in Ukraine, specifically shoeboxes filled with toys and other necessities, and the people of Kansas City showed up.
Co-owner and broker Janet Brooks said the toy drive is part of a nationwide effort stemming from inspiration via CEO and founder Kuba Jewgieniew, whose wife is from Ukraine.
Brooks said all three of the company's Kansas City locations have been receiving hundreds of boxes since announcing the effort last week.
The boxes are filled to the brim with toys and items like gum, notepads and diapers.
"A lot of these come from local people, but other real estate companies, too, are bringing them in, so regardless of brand or what company you work for, everyone is coming together," Brooks said.
Brooks spoke with Jewgieniew recently about the outpouring of support and says the donations brought tears to his eyes.
"They never expected this kind of turnout. I mean, it's just been huge," Brooks said.
Jacob Parr stopped by the Overland Park location Thursday to drop off several boxes he and his kids put together. They even gave away some of their own toys.
"I actually turned on the news and showed them pictures and videos that people are taking of what's going on over there and that kind of gives them a little bit better understanding," Parr said.
Box by box, Brooks and her son loaded the donations into a truck Thursday to drive to the North Kansas City location.
She will ship them to the group's Nevada office Friday, where Jewgieniew will in turn send them to his family in Poland.
From there, Jewgieniew’s family and friends will distribute the boxes to Ukrainian refugee children in hopes of lifting their spirits.
Brooks says the business is still accepting donations.