Vitamin Shoppe, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ pros partner to donate to Ukraine

Aleksandr, Maksim, and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, founders of nonprofit Baranova27 spearhead product donation drives in New Jersey to support humanitarian relief efforts

Over 4,600 pounds of nutritious, on-the-go nutritious snacks and protein bars are ready for transport and distribution to communities impacted by the war in Ukraine, thanks to some help from former “Dancing With the Stars” champions Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

Through a partnership between the Vitamin Shoppe and Baranova27, a grassroots charitable organization founded by Aleksandr Chmerkovskiy and his sons, Maksim and Valentin, over 2 tons of nutritious, easily shared food and snack items were shipped to Baranova27’s facility in Fort Lee from the Vitamin Shoppe’s distribution centers in Virginia and Arizona.

The Secaucus-based health and nutrition store’s freight logistics partner, Transplace, generously donated transportation costs while volunteers from the Vitamin Shoppe’s corporate support center in Secaucus unloaded the donated product June 1 into the Baranova27 warehouse, and it is now destined for Ukraine.

Sharon Leite. (Courtesy photos)

“Our teams at the Vitamin Shoppe are honored to be able to contribute to the refugees, frontline heroes, and extraordinary citizens of Ukraine in the way we know best — with nutritional support that we hope will give a boost to the everyday health and energy of the courageous people there,” Sharon Leite, CEO of the Vitamin Shoppe, stated. “Just as importantly, we are proud to help shine a light on the incredible work of Baranova27 in mobilizing much-needed humanitarian aid and supplies, and getting it directly into the hands of those in need in Ukraine. We are happy to be able to partner with a fellow New Jersey-based organization and want to thank Mayor Mike Gonnelli of Secaucus for first connecting us.”

Valentin and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Since the outset of the Ukraine conflict, Fort Lee-based Baranova27 has collected, organized and transported over 280,000 pounds (140 tons) of first aid supplies, nonperishable food, clothing, frontline equipment, hygiene items and children’s care products to on-the-ground relief and humanitarian organizations in Ukraine and Poland. The Chmerkovskiy family emigrated to the U.S. from Odessa, Ukraine, in the mid-1990s and previously lived at the address Baranova 27 in Odessa.

“I want to thank the Vitamin Shoppe and all the caring teams there that came together to make this meaningful and useful donation to the people of Ukraine. Nutritious, easily shared food and snack items are highly appreciated donations in Ukraine. With my work at Baranova27, I’ve tried to turn my pain about the war into a purpose. The contributions of companies like the Vitamin Shoppe reminds me that so much of the world is united in supporting the people of Ukraine and working towards peace,” Aleksandr Chmerkovskiy said.