Ukrainian refugees continue to arrive in Washington amid war

People are opening their hearts and homes to those who escaped the Russian invasion.

EVERETT, Wash. – Your future is built on faith – a faith demonstrated by the worship songs Olesia Tanasiichuk sings with her 9-year-old daughter Nina – a faith tested by the cruelty of war.

Olesia, her mother Alla and daughters Nina and 14-year-old Liliia stay with a Snohomish couple who, out of the sheer kindness of their hearts, have opened a guest house for the family.

“We could hear the bombs. They light up the city,” Olesia says through a translator. “It was really scary. My daughter’s school is now an air raid shelter.”

Homeowner John Bennett’s wife’s grandparents were Russian refugees.

“These people were kind of minding their own business when this happened to them, and anything we as Americans can do to help them, we should do,” says Bennett.

Olesia’s two sons, aged 18 and 20, are still in Ukraine.

They’re not fighting the Russians yet, but they could be drafted by the government this fall.

“I’m very worried,” says the mother of four. “They weren’t in the army. They don’t know how to fight.”

The family is made up of just a few of the Ukrainian refugees currently pouring into Washington.

More than 5,400 were here in May. That number increased by a further 1,200 to 6,618 in June.

About 1,200 Ukrainian refugees live in Snohomish County alone, which is said to have the largest population in the state.

They are forced to eat from the blackboard, learn a new language, find work and go to school.

Basically, they have to start their life over.

Olesia takes English classes at Edmonds College.

Her mother Alla reads a textbook and teaches herself.

One of the first words she learned was “thank you”.

Pointing to the sky, she says through the translator, “I thank God for the opportunity to be here and for all the volunteers who welcomed us.”

In English she says: “I love you.”

Olesia said she would like to have her whole family in America and she holds onto the belief that one day it will become a reality.

“Only God can do that,” she says.

Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest helps Ukrainian families adjust to life in America. They need household goods, bedding, detergent, diapers, bath towels and of course housing for the refugees. Donations can be made at the organization’s main office in Rainier Hall on the Everett Community College campus or by calling 425-388-9307. Ukrainian refugees continue to arrive in Washington amid war

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