Members of a delegation from the City of Tyler and the Tyler Sister Cities organization visited a Ukrainian refugee resource center set up in Tyler’s sister city of Jelenia Góra, Poland on Wednesday.
Much of the food and supplies handed out here were purchased with private donations from East Texas effort that collected more than $31 thousand earlier this year.
Six days a week, refugees are offered food, toiletries, and clothing. They are also connected with language skills and job placement resources.
The center is organized by a small team of staff and volunteers, including Tetiana Kartseva, who is from Rivne, a city in western Ukraine. Her ability to speak Ukrainian, Polish, and English, among other languages, is invaluable to the operation’s success.
According to Kartseva, the people who line up for food are a mix of Ukrainian women, children, and men of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
“We are just doing what all humans should do — helping each other.”
Even those benefiting from the resources are giving back. Danylo, an 11-year-old boy from Ukraine, spends time in the refugee center when he’s not in school. His family fled the conflict in Ukraine and helps stock shelves with supplies.
Another refugee, a woman named Ilona, from Cherkasy, Ukraine, said the refugee center has been a blessing for her family.
Speaking through a translator, she said, “The war is not over. It’s not even in the middle point. It will be over when someone will win. And of course we will win because we are defending our country. We don’t want anything from them (Russia). We just want our people back and our land back.”
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