PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Vancouver church helping Ukrainian refugees with everything from food and clothing to lodging and finding jobs welcomed another family this week.
In this family’s case, one of their children is still in Ukraine, in a region now occupied by the Russians.
Kherson was the first city to fall to Russia since the country invaded Ukraine and the scenes from there are gruesome with dead bodies in the streets, little food and no way out.
The Prodam family’s oldest daughter, grandchild, and grandmother are still trapped there.
“It’s so difficult and a lot of information from our daughter she’s telling us what’s happening in that city and she’s afraid to escape, because she doesn’t know what’s going to happen on the way. You know, she may be killed,” Oleksandr Prodam said.
The Prodam’s and their two younger children had gone to Poland right before Russia’s invasion. They arrived in Vancouver this week and the Restoration of Hearts Ministries is helping them, and other refugees, with everything because they arrived with next to nothing.
“They were so thankful to the local people who invited us, who helped us to a local church. And we didn’t expect everything going to be so good, so organized and received lots of help from them. We’re very, very thankful to them,” Oleksandr said.
There have been differences they’ve noticed since they arrived in the U.S., for example, Americans’ reliance on cars.
“We’re surprised and amazed because everyone, people here are driving by cars even to the local stores, but in Ukraine they are walking, and we decided to walk to the local grocery store,” Marina Prodam said.
A moment of levity during a heavy time, as Russia has cut off much of the Ukrainian cellphone services and currency — adding to their worry about their family still there.
They plan to someday return to Ukraine, Oleksandr and Marina’s daughter Maria explained, “I like it here a lot. And especially a house in which we are staying and fellowship with other people which we have. I like it a lot. It’s very good over here, but it’s better at home.”
The Restoration of Hearts ministries is doing so much to help these refugees and they’re looking for help from financial donations to temporary lodging and cars to jobs.