Local woman helps Ukrainian refugees find shelter overseas

Poland Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 5:31 AM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 05:31:11-04

TAMPA, Fla. — More than two million Ukrainians have fled the country since the start of the Russian Invasion. Several organizations and citizens throughout the Tampa Bay area have stepped up to help those refugees.

One local woman from Poland has even opened her childhood home to four refugees.

“These people were in tremendous need,” she said.

The woman only identified herself as Anne and asked that we not show her face, so the family staying in the house aren’t put in any more danger.

“I had something that could help,” she said. “That’s the least I could do for them, say come stay there.”

Anne was born and raised in Poland but now lives in the Tampa Bay area. She said the home in Poland where the refugees are now living was her childhood home. No one has lived there since her father passed away a few years ago.

She said the family is still shaken up and afraid.

“They really don’t know what’s going on. It’s like a really bad dream for them,” she said. “Or a nightmare.”

Anne isn’t the only person locally helping Ukraine and refugees. Several local organizations have also stepped up.

The Pinellas Community Foundation started a Ukraine Aid Fund where people can go donate money or find other ways to help. They started the fund about a week ago, and they’re up to $8,000 so far.

“It’s painful to watch the images and the stories we’re seeing on television and on the internet,” said Duggan Cooley.

Cooley, the CEO of the Community Foundation, said they are working with national and international organizations to make sure the money they’re collecting gets to the right people and those in need.

“That’s the heart of this effort,” cooley said. “Money is the easiest, most needed, however, if you can’t give money, any way you can help will be appreciated.”

If you would like to learn more about the Pinellas Community Foundation and donate to their Ukraine Aid Fund click here.