SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees and community members gathered in the spirit of Christmas at the City View Church in the Mission Valley area to have sense of community.
Now that it’s time for the Christmas season, Krystsina Shchelkunova, who organized the event, hoped to bring them some holiday joy in a time where it might hard to find some.
“Tonight, is going to be the first Christmas for the Ukrainian families who arrived recently to San Diego. So, we would like to welcome them,” Shchelkunova said Tuesday.
Shchelkunova told ABC 10News she was expecting about 300 Ukrainian refugees to attend on Tuesday night.
“That way people, you know, can meet each other, make friends and feel like home at least here,” Shchelkunova said.
While this is anything but a normal Christmas, they hope that meals, entertainment and gifts can bring some sense of community after a long ten months following the invasion.
It was a night of togetherness in a time where many of these people have left everything they knew behind in Ukraine.
“We just arrived four days ago,” said Dasha Korieieva, a Ukrainan refugee who to San Diego with her husband and young son. “It was really hard because it was bombing, rockets. And, we have big problems with the electricity. We have no light at home. We have no heating at home, no water.”
Korieieva’s story is like hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees who fled their home country amid the war with Russia.
“Because we are alone here, just our family. We have no relatives, friends here. So, that’s why I want to meet and celebrate Christmas,” Korieieva said.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year but, it still doesn’t ease the pain of what’s happened to their country for most of this year.
“I’ve very grateful for people who do everything for me to me happy this Christmas. But, I’m not happy because I’m not with my family,” Korieieva said.
But there’s hope that the heart locals are showing can help them move forward even beyond the holidays.
“I feel so bad and sad for them, and I try all the time to find some American families who want to adopt them here and make it a little bit easier to adapt here in the USA,” Shchelkunova said.
The organizer of the event says she’s still looking for more community help with the refugees come to our area. You can help out at slavics.org.