Ukrainians in US mobilize to help 100,000 expected refugees

Local militiaman Valery, 37, carries a child as he helps a fleeing family across a bridge destroyed by artillery, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 2. 2022. Photo Courtesy: AP

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP): As the United States prepares to accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees following Russia’s invasion of their country, existing communities in cities like Sacramento and Seattle are already mobilizing to provide food, shelter and support to those fleeing the war.

The federal government hasn’t said when the formal resettlement process will begin, but Ukrainian groups in the U.S. are already providing support to people entering the country through other channels, including on visas that will eventually expire or by flying to Mexico and crossing over the border.

“No refugee is waiting for you to be ready for them,” said Eduard Kislyanka, senior pastor at the House of Bread church near Sacramento, which has been sending teams of people to Poland and preparing dozens of its member families to house people arriving in California. 

Since the war began in late February over 4 million people are estimated to have fled Ukraine and millions more have been displaced within the country. President Joe Biden said last week that the U.S. would admit up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugeesand provide $1 billion in humanitarian assistance to countries affected by the exodus.