Milwaukee church accepting donations for people in Ukraine

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- There's a growing concern for the people in Ukraine and with that concern comes generosity. At least one local organization is already collecting donations, but experts warn scams are already popping up, as well.

Many Americans have watched as airstrikes hit cities and people flee Ukraine in terror.

"As soon as people see images of war or of tragedy, it tugs at their heartstrings, and rightfully so," said Lisa Schiller, director of investigations and media relations at the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin.

It's natural to want to help, but Schiller wants you to exercise caution.

"I would be completely shocked if there's not already fake websites that have been created within the last couple of days by scammers," she said.

Schiller said people looking to donate should find established disaster relief organizations that already have a presence in Ukraine.

On Milwaukee's south side, St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church is already taking in monetary donations. The church is not accepting items, like furniture or clothes.

Joseph Spolowicz, the parish council vice president, said people have sent donations to the church already.

"It was heartwarming ... to know that that people are out there to help and it tells me people are worried concerned and thinking about Ukraine," he said.

Spolowicz expects there will come a time when the United States takes in Ukrainian refugees, who will need to re-build their lives here.

"I anticipate that Milwaukee will be one of the places where people will seek refuge, especially since we've had our sister city connection between Irpin and Milwaukee," he said.

For anyone who can't afford to donate and wants to help in other ways, Spolowicz encourages them to pray for Ukraine and call their elected officials to push for more sanctions

The BBB says the following websites are BBB accredited and they are either currently raising funds for assistance efforts in Ukraine or preparing for needs that could arise if conflict results in population displacement:

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