Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 4:05 PM CST

KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanksgiving's true roots re-emerge in times of war. As Americans celebrate with friends and family, a dinner in war-torn Kiev brings new layers of meaning to this holiday.

Despite ongoing missile attacks and power outages, American aid activist Natacha Merritt is being welcomed by Ukrainian Parliamentarians in gratitude for delivering extraordinary humanitarian aid. Merritt is founder of Compound Eyes Foundation, which created the grassroots non-profit Operation PinkBus.

Forming in just the first weeks after the Russian invasion Operation PinkBus initially delivered over 30 minivans and offroad vehicles, relocated over 15,000 Ukrainians, supplied over 200 tons of aid. Since May, Merritt has raised over $600,000 by creative means by building a network of individuals and local organizations from 11 countries, reaching deep into Ukraine. She even raised funds by auctioning of a decommissioned evacuation van to continue to provide increasingly needed specialized equipment for medical treatment and training in the months following the initial shock.

This week, the founder of PinkBus was invited to Kyiv by the Valerii Sterniichuk on behalf of the Ukrainian Parliament as a thank you to the organization for its commitment to providing direct non-military support to the people of Ukraine, and for its rapid-action campaign bridging the gap between basic necessity, humanitarian aid, and state-sponsored efforts for war-funding.

This Thanksgiving will be one to remember: a mobile hospital vehicle for the women's veterans group Veteranka, 300 propane and gasoline-powered multi-purpose generators, a state-of-the-art medic-training mannequin (first of its kind in Ukraine), water filters, and baby incubators arrive in Kyiv.

While the inspiration for the occasion comes from afar, the meal will be from the bounty available in these trying times, highlighting resilience while cognizant of the destruction of staple crops. In true spirit of Thanksgiving Operation PinkBus (and the international community at large) will share a traditional meal, and express gratitude to the Ukrainians for their extraordinary effort to protect democracy. They are not just doing this for themselves but for all of us who stand for freedom and democracy.

The ceremony will be held this Thursday November 24th.

Adnan Merritt

Operation PinkBus
Operation PinkBus(PRNewswire)

View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE Compound Eyes Foundation

The above press release was provided courtesy of PRNewswire. The views, opinions and statements in the press release are not endorsed by Gray Media Group nor do they necessarily state or reflect those of Gray Media Group, Inc.