SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A nonprofit is appealing for San Diegans to help adopt a Ukrainian refugee family.
“When I looked at them I saw despair. I saw pain … Their stories brought tears to my eyes,” said Viktoriya Banasevych.
For weeks, the Tierrasanta resident and native Ukrainian were in San Ysidro with her husband and a group of volunteers from the nonprofit Nova Ukraine, assisting the refugees after they crossed the border.
She says before the new federal visa system for Ukrainians moved online and halted crossings at the border, more than 15,000 Ukrainians crossed into San Diego, and about a thousand remain in the area. Some are without connections in the US.
“According to our data, about 25% of them don’t have family, friends, or resources … Many refugees have spent the last of their savings to get to us, and the only thing they have is the clothes on their back, and maybe, a bag of essential things,” said Banasevych.
Nova Ukraine, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, is launching a new program to help those most vulnerable.
“It’s similar to our Adopt-a-Family program,” said Banasevych.
The group is asking for between a $100 and $300 monthly donation to help sponsor a family in the US. In the comment section of the application, donors can request a family in San Diego or California.
The money would pay for items like food, rent, toys, and birthday presents.
“For a larger family with multiple kids, we're asking for $300 dollars a month. For a senior person, we’re asking for a $100 a month,” said Banasevych.
The donor would receive a letter and photo from the family. The group is also eyeing a long-term mentor program. Refugees would be paired with a volunteer, who could assist a range of tasks, including paperwork for schooling, and assistance programs.
“We can’t erase the horrors they’ve experienced, but we can help them start their lives here,” said Banasevych.