An actor raised in Halifax is preparing for a new kind of role — volunteering on the ground of a humanitarian crisis.

Forbes March, who grew up in Halifax but currently lives in New York, is packing his bags and heading to Poland this week to help refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

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Since the war began just over two weeks ago, more than 2 million Ukrainians have fled their homes — the majority of them ending up in neighbouring Poland.

Forbes says he has been watching the war unfold through videos, adding that images he’s seen of women and children making long journeys to seek out safety have compelled him to take action.

“What they’re going through — I don’t know how you could not be affected by that,” he said.

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March, who is in his late 40s, says he initially thought of fighting, but he feels too old and has no training in any sort of combat. Instead, he felt he could use his skills to help families who are escaping.

“I can do the most that I can do… I can go over there and bring a woman a cup of tea and a bowl of soup, maybe give her a chair, ‘sit down let me entertain your kids,’” said March.

Read more: How to talk to your children about the war in Ukraine

The former Nova Scotian says he knows it’s not a lot but says there is a need for volunteers on the ground.

“They’re pretty desperate for people there, it’s well arranged, it’s peaceful it’s well organized, there is an excess of food, what they don’t have is people to help, they need boots not goods at this point, is my understanding.”

March has been in discussion with those already on the ground and has arranged to fly into Warsaw, Poland’s capital, and then travel southeast to the town of Przemyśl, which is near the Ukrainian border. The town which has a population of just 60,000 people has been an entry point for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.

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March has also been collecting donations through a GoFundMe campaign, which in part will pay the way for him and two of his friends to travel overseas to volunteer. Any extra will be used to purchase supplies for refugees once there.

“We can buy what we see they need, we can put the money into the local economy and make sure we get stuff they’re familiar with.”

March was born in England and raised in Halifax. He has no direct ties to Poland or Ukraine but says the war is something that’s having an impact worldwide and he wanted to do his small part to help.

“Maybe if we all do what little bit we can, it will make a really significant difference at a really important time.”