Puget Sound organization helping Ukrainian families relocate, rebuild

Organizations around Puget Sound are rallying to help Ukrainian refugees as the Russian invasion continues.

Since 2014, World Relief Seattle has helped more than 2,100 Ukrainian refugees resettle in the Seattle area.

Executive Director Medard Nguieta says the organization is prepared to step up in the next few weeks and months when thousands more are expected to arrive.  

"We will definitely be looking for volunteers to either help pick up families from the airport, but also to provide some basic materials and support for families-- [it] can go from anything to beds and to warm clothing, to gift cards that people can go out and shop with," Nguieta said.

Organizations and churches are busier than ever gathering both humanitarian and medical aid for Ukraine.

Resources are already stretched thin – in the last few months, Seattle has welcomed over 600 Afghan refugees. Still, World Relief Seattle says they’re ready to help.

In the meantime, Alina Tutok is one of the thousands of Ukrainians in Seattle watching her home country under attack.

"We love you, we pray for you constantly," Tutok said as she shared a video of the harsh reality her family is now facing.

"My 9-year-old niece celebrated her birthday under the stairs because that's where they hide," Tutok said.

As Tutok, her family and thousands of other Ukrainians continue to watch their war-torn country, they say there’s a feeling they just can’t shake.  

"We just feel this guilt, you know, living our lives, we wake up and we drink our coffee while our relatives wake up and try to get food," Tutok said. "It's a lot of guilt and it's just a lot of emotion for us to be living here as if nothing is happening because we can't physically feel it, but emotionally, it's taking a really deep toll on all of us," she said. 

A toll World Relief Seattle is hoping to help with by welcoming families being pushed out of their country.

"You will see people come in with maybe just some few clothes in the backpack, some people may come even without their diplomas and things, you know, from school or birth certificates," Nguieta said.

That’s where the community can help make a difference. 

"Helping them to get started with their new life as they flee from their own home countries torn by wars," Nguieta said. 

Learn more about World Relief Seattle and donation and volunteer efforts here. 

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