OKEMOS, Mich. (WLNS) — The Okemos-based non-profit Friends of Moldova is supporting Ukrainian refugees in their time of need.
Moldova reported that they have taken in more than half a million refugees since the start of the war between Ukraine and Russia.
With winter on the way, the country fears the worst.
“When the war began, I just dropped everything and went to Moldova and it was the best decision I think I ever made,” said Bartosz Gawarecki, the President of Friends of Moldova.
Gawarecki graduated from Michigan State University, and was a member of the Peace Corps, having lived in Moldova for three years.
The Spartan alumnus said he fell in love with the country and knew he had to help after hearing a story of a woman who made it to the Capitol of Moldova but had nowhere to stay.
“When she went up there to that apartment imagining that you know there would be a place to lay down. She struggled to get through the door because that is how packed it was,” said Bartosz.
As the war raged on, the housing situation slowly got better.
Unfortunately, Moldova has no money to support themselves or the refugees. The big concern is how people will heat their homes.
“The ultimate fear is that people will die,” said Bartosz. “That they won’t be supported well enough that they will actually freeze to death.”
One of the many refugees that Friends of Moldova helped says that she knows people in the United States are slowly forgetting about the war. She says much of the focus is on the fighting in the country, but people need to know that refugees still need their help too.
“It’s very important for all of us, for all people of the Ukraine,” said Ukrainian refugee Olga Osachuk. “Because we need the whole world to know the truth.”