SAN DIEGO — A local church is giving back this holiday season to support Ukrainian refugees in San Diego County.
This comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to meet with President Joe Biden this week about the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe.
Volunteers at City View Church in Serra Mesa provided Ukrainian refugees with donations, meals and some holiday cheer. Smiles, music and Santa gave the Ukrainian families the gift of hope during a time of great need.
“It’s like freedom because here I have everything,” Ukrainian refugee Dasha Kornieieva said.
Dasha Kornieieva and her 3-year-old son, Nazar, arrived into the U.S. from their war-torn country just four days ago.
“The last day, the last month that I was in my town, I have big problems with electricity and our house is fully only electricity. We didn’t have electricity, heating on electricity, water and everything. So the last days were very bad,” Kornieieva said.
She still has family stuck in Ukraine.
“I’m very sad every day for my family,” Kornieieva said.
Krystsyna Shchelkunova of Slavic Refugees and Immigrants Services Organization put on this event. She knows all too well that feeling.
“My mother-in-law, my father-in-law stay in Ukraine,” Shchelkunova said. “We feel their pain.”
That’s why she worked to provide donations, meals and a celebration for the refugees in San Diego County while many in Ukraine who won’t have much of a Christmas.
“It’s very frustrating for them and unstable, and since I understand everything and I feel their pain, I would like to help them as much as I can,” says Shchelkunova.
She, alongside City View Church, served roughly 300 Ukrainian refugee families with the gift of Christmas.
“It’s Christmas and we love Christmas, so people try because if they do not do this, they will have no hope,” Kornieieva said. “So when people hope something, everything will be good.”