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La Jolla group aiding Ukrainian refugees at US-Mexico border

La Jolla group aiding Ukrainian refugees
Posted at 4:57 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 20:27:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A local group that's been helping Ukrainian refugees cross into San Diego for more than a week is issuing a call for volunteers and donations.

Eyelena Vorobyov, her husband Nikolay and their 18-year-old son, who all live in Kyiv, were in Cancun on vacation when the the Russian invasion began. They felt helpless watching it unfold.

“It’s just devastating. Can’t explain it. Can’t put it into the words,” said Vorobyov.

Photos show the apartment complex next to home, bombed out. One was killed and many were injured.

Last Wednesday, the family decided to fly into Tijuana.

Meeting them at the airport were members of the La Jolla-based Church of Music, a spiritual group focused on music.

Among the members were Zank Bennett and founder Alina Gordon, a native of Ukraine.

They provided the family with an immigration attorney, a translator and a ride to the border. After many hours the family obtained a humanitarian visa and crossed into San Diego.

After Jewish Family Service put them in a motel for two days, the Church of Music has been helping with lodging ever since.

“One of our missions is to leave the world better than we found it, to give back. We helped with Afghan refugees and Syrian refugees as well,” said Gordon.

The Vorobyov family member are among the some 15 Ukrainian refugees they've helped cross.

Tapping into personal contacts, Gordon and other church members have connected with incoming refugees, meeting them at the airport and helping them cross.

“The translations … Just giving them some comfort. Letting them know there’s food and water, and what’s on the other side, so they can reduce that fear,” said Bennett.

The group has providing food, rides and housing, and also plants to assist in finding jobs.

“Just so grateful. So grateful,” said Vorobyov.

Volunteers are now bracing for the next wave of refugees.

“The second and third wave, which are just starting … It’s going to be way worse. Those are the people who truly don’t have the funds and have been running for a month now,” said Gordon.

Gordon says the group has also been helping Russians and Belarusians in Tijuana with losing as they appeal for asylum.

The group is asking for more anyone interested in volunteering to contact them at their website.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help the group with expenses