The Challenge’s Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio recently shared more details of his efforts to help refugees in war-torn Ukraine, something he called a “harrowing” experience.
Monsters & Critics reported about Bananas’ trip to Poland earlier this month, as The Challenge star shared videos and photos from his journey to Poland and into Lviv, Ukraine.
The seven-time Challenge champion joined forces with Humanosh, an organization dedicated to helping children that live in “extremely unfortunate environments,” as they expanded their mission to provide “urgent support” to those in need of it in Ukraine.
Johnny Bananas discusses trip to Poland to help out in Ukraine
According to Johnny Bananas, a call from a friend on March 12 was all it took for him to take action, as he decided to get on a plane the next day from Los Angeles to Warsaw, Poland, an area where he knew no one.
“[I] went to the first train station on this side of the Polish border, and the refugee crisis that’s taking place there right now is just, it’s insane,” Bananas exclusively told Page Six. “People are warming themselves by trash cans that are on fire and [using] makeshift tents.”
“These people had families, they had homes, they had jobs. And here they are a week later with nothing,” he said.
As mentioned, The Challenge star teamed with Humanosh, as the organization needed to raise awareness and get donations, as well as have volunteers there to help out in Poland and Ukraine.
Bananas said the organization contacted “over 500 people,” and he was surprised to be one of the only ones to answer the call. However, he chose to participate because he considers himself an “adrenaline junkie” and an “adventure seeker.”
“I could post the inspirational quote or I could give $5, but it’s like, I’m young, I’m able-bodied, I feel like I have skills and things that I could contribute. … I want to be here to take some of the burdens off of the system and the people and just do everything that I can,” he said.
While in Poland, Bananas and the rest of the group would get up before sunrise and make long trips by van to deliver medical supplies, canned foods, and baby products to places in need. Those places included overcrowded shelters, train stations, and shellshocked military bases.
The group purchased all sorts of supplies from a store similar to Costco. According to Bananas, the aid the war-torn country needed was more than just food and medical supplies.
“It’s so far beyond that when you’re in a conflict like this, where all the resources in a country have been destroyed or taken away,” he said.
Bananas added they needed “anything you can find at a hardware store,” including antifreeze, chainsaws, shovels, and gasoline.
Bananas described ‘nerve-racking’ trip into Ukraine
During his experience, Bananas said he had plenty of thoughts of what could go wrong while he was away. That was especially true on the night before his journey to Lviv, Ukraine.
“I’m like, ‘I’m going into a war zone tomorrow, how wild is this?’ And then obviously your mind goes to all the worst places,” he said. “Like, what if I get shot by a sniper? What if like, you know, you hear on the news, I mean, a Fox News [cameraman] was just killed like a few days ago … it’s like, what if we’re that statistic where we’re driving down the road and some random rocket just blows our van up?” he told Page Six.
Bananas and others from the group crossed the border into Ukraine on March 16. He called that part of the journey “nerve-racking” and “harrowing” at several points.
He described having to go through barricaded checkpoints, and there were areas where people were using whatever they could to “block off the streets” ahead of the “Russian invasion.”
Bananas called it “reassuring” that his convoy was one of the dozens from around the world working to assist during Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.
“I think that out of everything, that was the most reassuring to me because you hear about all the refugees, you hear about the sadness,” he said. “But what you don’t hear about is the amount of support that is coming to Ukraine.”
The Challenge star said he officially returned home to Los Angeles on March 20. When asked how others can help, he suggested making others aware of Humanosh and providing monetary donations are the best ways.
Bananas is one of two stars from MTV’s The Challenge who decided to go into Poland and help out those in Ukraine. Three-time champion Jordan Wiseley also flew there with his roommate, actor Kevin Pasdon, and worked with a group to deliver medical supplies into the country.
The Challenge Season 38 is TBA on MTV. The Challenge: All Stars 3 premieres on May 11 on Paramount Plus.