We have been burdened by the war in Ukraine and wondering what we could do to make an impact. It’s estimated that more than 200-250 Ukrainian humanitarian parole families are now in the Triangle area, and more than 2,500 Ukrainians have arrived in North Carolina over the past nine months. I recently reconnected with a college friend from UNC, Brian Snyder, who has been very involved in Ukrainian relocation efforts in the Triangle via his involvement with Sister Cities of Durham. He has introduced me to two Ukrainian refugees new to our city.
Thanks to our awesome customers online and at Perkins Orchard in Durham https://www.instagram.com/perkinsorchard/ we have been able to give a small donation to them through proceeds raised from our Ukraine Tea. I have been so blessed to get to know them and I wanted to thank you for your partnership with me in giving and to introduce them to you.
Meet Anatolii, the Artist
Anatolii and his beautiful family (pictured at the top of the post) have quite an amazing story of their journey through the war and the provision since coming to the US. He and his wife have three boys ages 9, 6, and 9 months. Even though they were told that they wouldn’t have any more children, their third son was born at the exact right time to give them priority to escape Ukraine not long after the war started. His wife shared how the bombs ceased just to give her enough time to give birth to their third boy without having to go down to the bomb shelter. Anatolii was also being treated for cancer as he came to the US and he has an amazing story of how he was healed after chemotherapy without having to go through surgery.
Anatolii is a painter and he prays as he paints to encourage people’s hearts through his work. He gave me the picture below that spoke powerfully to my soul at a point where I was feeling very discouraged by some seemingly unanswered prayers. You can see and purchase his art at https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnatoliyArtStore and at https://www.instagram.com/tarasiuk.art/. He would love to do art shows and sell his art to help support his family.
Meet Aleksa, an Event Planner
Here is a note directly from Aleksa: “Hi, my name is Aleksa Aishpur. I ran from the war in Ukraine and I came to the USA one month ago thanks to the help of Hope and Daniel my sponsoring host family. It was not an easy decision, as my parents ran to Romania and my sister and nephews are in Italy.
When the war started, I fled on the first day. In 28 hours, we drove 8 hours from Kyiv to Chernivtsi (a city near the border), because there were so many cars on the road that we could not move faster. There was a lot of fear, we didn’t know if any missiles would come at any moment. With some of my friends in Chernivtsi we waited 3 days and went to Italy by bus. We thought that there might be a nuclear intervention in Ukraine, so we decided to move away from the country.
This whole week has passed in fear, prayers, internal battles and hopes. I didn’t sleep much, because I was online all the time, we helped each other throughout Ukraine with information on where and who people can be evacuated to, with friends and my sister, who, with 2 teenage children, was stuck in her house near Kiev, because their the village was blocked. She could not run because 2 bridges were destroyed and tanks were driving along one side of the road. It was a miracle that after 2 weeks she was able to escape and come to me in Italy with my nephews. It was the sweetest hug in our lives when we saw each other after all these crazy events.
In Italy one Charity organization in Bergamo city helped us. And when I relaxed little bit and start to sleep well I decided to go to Romania to volunteer in a charity organization and help Ukrainians. My sister and my friends stayed in Italy. I flew to Romania. We rented a house for refugees located in the city Cluj-Napoca, 3 hours from the border with Ukraine. The next day at 4 o’clock in the morning a 9 floor house near my mom’s house in Kyiv was bombed. That’s why my parents ran to me in Romania and stayed in the house that we rented. 9 months we lived in one town. We helped Ukrainian widows with food, wood for warmth, and repairing houses after being destroyed by missiles. I worked with psychologist all this time and help myself with God to accept this reality of new life.
Now I’m here in the USA. I believe that God called me here. I’m on my way to see His Glory and His restoring, unending love. Before I flew here my sister came to Romania and I hugged all my family.
I am trying to find a job now. I hope to participate in a meaningful project or startup. I worked with startups in Ukraine and organized huge events, one of them for 10,000 people. I am also available to work as an event planner as a consultant for different groups. A huge help for me to start quicker is to help me to buy a car. GoFundMe project: https://gofund.me/a04c768dhttps://gofund.me/a04c768d Thank you! May God bless you and your families!
How You Can Help Ukrainian Refugees in the Triangle
My friend Brian is currently trying to help bring 30 other Ukrainians to the US many of whom are connected to Aleksa’s non profit. They need a host family sponsor(s) under “Uniting for Ukrainian” (U4U) humanitarian parole program https://www.uscis.gov/ukraine. Here is how you can help:
- Donating frequent flyer miles
- Filling out I-134 Affidavit of Support
- Host family housing support for 3-6 months (like a student exchange)
- Support connecting with refugee resettlement groups (Lutheran Services Carolinas, USCRI, World Relief, etc.) to fill out forms for Medicaid, Food Stamps, education and career path planning and other resettlement support activities.
- Helping people to get connected within our wonderful NC community
If you would like any more information how to help Ukrainian refugees, please reach out to my friend Brian Snyder firstname.lastname@example.org .
Drink More Tea for Ukraine
Lastly, you can drink tea for Ukraine with our Ukrainian tea blend. This is a beautiful black and green tea blend with fruit forward flavors and a floral finish. It contains forest fruits from Ukraine’s Carpathian mountains and was inspired by a popular Ukrainian tea with help from a local Ukrainian to blend. Half of the proceeds from this tea will go toward Ukrainian refugee work in the Triangle area this spring. Order some here https://somscafe.com/product/ukraine-tea/.