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Nonprofit helps Ukrainian couple find refuge in St. Louis

"Our home was bombed within a one-mile radius and it's okay, it was not destroyed but we were bombed," Julia shared.

ST. LOUIS — Julia Alekseyeva and her husband Andriy fled Ukraine because of the war.

"We left everything actually," Julia shared. "Our home was bombed within a one-mile radius and it's okay, it was not destroyed but we were bombed."

Their heart aches for their beloved country and loved ones left behind.

"It's hard to watch because too many people are suffering," She explained.

Now, the duo is trying to settle in the U.S.

After selling their car to make it to North America, the pair arrived in St. Louis.

"We are the first Ukrainians who reached out to Welcome Neighbor STL," Julia said.

The organization Welcome Neighbor STL helps new arrivals get comfortable.

Jessica Bueler is the founder and executive director of the organization.

She helped the couple with housing, job searches, and support. 

"They found a family here in St. Louis to allow them to stay in the second floor of their home and do that for the next two months. We raised $2,200 for this family and we can help with groceries, legal fees, rent and down payment for the next apartment on their own," said Bueler.

Julia tells 5 On Your Side, the group has been very helpful.

Now, the organization wants to assist others by trying to add more sponsors for other Ukrainian families.

Bueler explains there is a new program called North American for Ukraine, which allows individual people in St. Louis to apply to become a sponsor for a Ukrainian family.

It bridges the gap for resettlement support with the immigration process, host matching, employment opportunities and general resources.

"We partner two to three Americans per newly arrived family to help with paperwork and enroll kids in school. To help them build that independence and autonomy and to find their place in St. Louis," said Bueler.

And while this may a new path on their journey, Julia and Andriy have found comfort in the process.

"We never expected to meet such helpful people. We thought nobody would care, but looks like everyone cares," Julia said with a laugh.

If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, click here to learn more.

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