Wisconsin family helping Ukrainian refugees find temporary homes
SUAMICO, Wis. (WBAY) - Natalia Kryzhanivska, her husband Nabeel Rasheed and their two-year-old son Michael are now living in Suamico after leaving their home in Kyiv, Ukraine days after the Russian invasion started.
“Suddenly, one day we lost it all,” said Natalia. “It’s hard to believe when you’re not there in the horror, and it’s hard to believe when you are there.”
She says they survived the terror from the Russian air strikes for a few days. She shared a picture with Action 2 News of Michael sleeping in a bomb shelter and said Ukrainian families are still living in those types of shelters.
Natalia did not want to leave her home due to fear of her family being killed while trying to flee, but then the opportunity to find refuge in Poland came.
“It was the hardest decision. In five minutes, we made the decision to leave the house,” she said.
Natalia’s parents are still in Ukraine, not wanting to leave their home and accepting their fate. She talks to them every day and cries when she sees the damage, bombings and violence in her country.
On October 1st, Natalia’s family landed in Northeast Wisconsin with the help from Ward Bacon, a former Green Bay West High School teacher and his wife.
“When we came here, I finally felt some peace and happiness. I’m very grateful to all family and friends who help us here,” she said.
In April, Action 2 News spoke with Bacon in his classroom following his trip to Poland where he was helping Ukrainian families find housing. He was raising money to cover most of the costs for at least a year.
His goal was to raise about $52,400 and is now $5,000 away from reaching that goal.
Ward says he’s amazed by the community’s donations and is especially grateful for the help he has received from West High School.
He hopes people don’t become jaded with the war and continue to support efforts for Ukrainian refugees.
“I think everybody is upset about this war and everybody would like to do something but most people would say ‘There’s nothing I can do.’ And there is something you can do, so we’re trying to do it,” said Bacon.
Natalia’s family has been staying at Bacon’s home in Suamico, but will be moving to their own apartment Saturday. She hopes they can return home to Ukraine if and when the war ends.
“We hope that Ukraine wins, and we wish peace. Peace all around the world,” said Natalia.
Bacon will use money raised to help Natalia’s family with rent until they can cover all the costs. He has received furniture donations for their apartment but could still use more for the living room space.
To help supply Bacon with furniture for Natalia’s apartment, please send a message to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ward is helping other families in Poland with housing as well. People can donate money to an account with Capital Credit Union. Checks should be made payable to “Ward Bacon”. Ask the teller to deposit the cash or check into Ward Bacon’s “Mission to Poland” account. You may indicate whether you want the funds to go toward food or rent/utilities, and the teller will note that on your deposit record.
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