TAMPA, FLA. — A Ukrainian family arrived in Tampa last week after a local family offered them a place to stay.
Yullia and Sergey fled Ukraine with their two sons, ages 11 and 3. The family left with two suitcases.
The couple spoke to ABC Action News with the help of a translator. The couple said their children keep wondering if they will ever be able to go home.
Roaya Tyson is Chief Operating Officer at Gracepoint. She is allowing the family to stay at her home in Tampa.
"My husband and I were watching the news a lot and kind of felt helpless not to be able to do anything so he reached out to a church in California, a Ukrainian church, that matches families with refugees. We filled out the form and within 24 hours they were calling saying they had a family of four that needed help," recalled Tyson.
Tyson said the nonprofit agency helps with behavioral healthcare, medical care and housing.
"We're working on housing and trying to get them identifications so they can start to work and having them apply for work permits," said Tyson.
The family crossed at least three countries before arriving at Tampa International Airport last week. They entered the United States on a humanitarian visa.
"They were in their home and the explosions and firing were coming very close to their home, maybe 5-10 miles and was getting closer and they realized they had to leave," said Tyson.
The family said they are grateful to be safe, but are sad they had to leave behind their house and jobs.
Gracepoint started a GoFundMe page to help the family start over.
"It could be any one of us and my hope is that people don't get complacent and say 'we're here, we're safe,' because if it were to be us, we would want somebody to reach out to help us, right?" said Tyson.