Large Groups of Volunteers Await Ukrainian Refugees at US-Mexico Border

The group has been providing food, clothing and counseling to families around the clock

NBC Universal, Inc.

Standing by, near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, is a group of volunteers who have been working around the clock to support Ukrainian families looking for refuge in the U.S. 

“We had to come up with some very immediate decisions about how we were going to house, how we were going to protect our people from weather, how we can assist them with their journey to America, and how we can make them comfortable,” said Inna Levien, one of the volunteers.

The group — made up of volunteers from across the state, and brought together by a local church in Chula Vista — has been providing food, clothing and counseling to families waiting to go through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection process. The group has volunteers available 24 hours a day, they say.

According to the group, it can take anywhere from two to three days for families to make it through the process and into the U.S. They say there are already more than 1,000 people waiting to cross.

“Every day more people, that's why its a difficult situation,” said Lana Shcherbakova, another volunteer.

Shcherbakova traveled all the way from San Francisco to help.

“My heart was broken on the 24th of February and if I can help then I’m doing that,” she said.

She is standing by on the U.S. side of the border providing food and help with transportation.

“I’m happy when I see that I can help and if I can do something better for them then it's my pleasure,” said Shcherbakova.

Shcherbakova says groups of 20-30 refugees make it across the border every two to three hours. While many appear tired and weary from their journey, she says the signs of relief are obvious and there is a great sense of gratitude.

"They wanted to say thank you for the U.S. and the people living here, for their help, for the volunteers, for the food, for the kind words,” one volunteer translated from a Ukrainian family.

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