In the context of the refugee crisis in Poland following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, authors conducted a four-wave panel study (N = 598) with time-lags of two and four weeks between waves in March and April 2022. Their study aimed to explore collective helping behavior and its predictors during this challenging period. Participants were asked about their helping activities during the previous week and responded to questions about prospective fear, closeness towards refugees from Ukraine, and norms of helping. They hypothesized that feeling close to those in need from war-torn Ukraine, coupled with a community norm of helping, would consistently predict collective helping behavior across all waves. Additionally, they expected that the initial fear of hostilities from Russia would lose its predictive power over time. However, they anticipated an interaction between fear and closeness, where fear would predict helping at low levels of closeness but not at high levels. Their findings confirmed that the feeling of closeness towards refugees and adherence to social norms of helping played vital roles in sustaining helping behavior, regardless of the time that had passed since the invasion. Moreover, as expected, while prospective fear did not consistently predict helping across all waves, the interaction between fear and closeness was significant. Specifically, they found that prospective fear significantly impacted helping behaviors when closeness was low, but not when high. These results highlight the crucial role of social identity processes in guiding assistance to war refugees and can provide valuable insights for developing responses to other humanitarian crises.