My name is Valentyna and I am from Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine. While I had an opportunity to move to America at age 16, my family didn’t. My parents own a small business, they make artificial Christmas trees, wreaths, etc back in Ukraine. My brother works as an Airline pilot for Ukrainian airlines. He is married and has two kids, ages 5 and 9. It’s been nothing but heartbreaking to see them go through hell since Russia invaded. My uncle is currently defending in Lugask area, my dad and bother are in territorial defense forces in Western Ukraine. My mom chose to stay in Ukraine in order not to leave her father, son and husband behind. Lots of people are fleeing to the town where my parents live, since it’s not under heavy fire like Eastern Ukraine. My parents have two families with kids staying in their 1-bedroom apartment and there are lots of situations like this.
My childhood friend Andriy is hosting over 50 people at his small property about 70 Miles away from Khmelnytskyi. It used to be a camp site and he turned it into refugee camp so he can help people. Some come and go but most stay. A lot of them come with very little money or nothing at all. While my family is not in need immediate financial help, many others are. We are also helping friends and families that are left without homes and means to support themselves. The situation in Ukraine may not resolve anytime soon and we expect it to get worse before it gets better. The Russian invasion has done a grave damage to my county and it’s people. The road to recovery will be long and painful. While I am thankful that my sister-in-law and kids are able to stay with us, I know so many people that went from doing great in life to being homeless and need help. We are amazed at how caring people are, from friends to business clients and neighbors. We’ve been blown away by the number of calls, text messages, all your kind words and help for people of Ukraine. We appreciate you all from the bottom of our hearts.