WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — As the Russian War in Ukraine continues many people here in the U.S. have felt the need to help refugees.
On Saturday night in Warren, Saint Mary and Saint Joseph Parish raised thousands to send overseas at their Friends of Ukraine Food Festival.
“You watch the news reports and you see these pictures of children who are being sent into these countries without their parents,” said organizer Gina Woodley.
Woodley works with children and is worried about the families in Ukraine.
“Our priest is from Slovakia so we can send the money to his home diocese in that country,” Woodley said.
Father Francis comes from the Kosice diocese in Slovakia that borders Ukraine. Any Ukrainian refugee who flees to Slokavia has to pass through there.
“First refugees from Ukraine go through my diocese — it’s the first contact spot in my diocese. Next they can recognize if they can stay, if they can find them sources to manage the situation or if they need to move forward,” Father Francis said.
Having more resources there in particular makes it so refugees don’t have to go deeper in Slovakia for help.
“We have now in Slovakia about 270,000 refugees. We are only 5.5 million people in Slovakia, we are a small country, so 370,000 refugees is a lot,” Father Francis said.
Local restaurants donated most of the food for the dinner. In all, Saint Mary and Saint Joseph parish will send $9,200 to Slovakia to help Ukrainian refugees.