RICHMOND, Va. -- The United Nations estimates more than two million Ukrainians have fled from their homes amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Organizations across Ukraine's border report becoming overwhelmed with the need, including one organization with a tie to Chesterfield.
Midlothian resident Carmen Foster is a doctor for VCU by day, but by night, she is helping her brother have the funds to continue to support refugees from Ukraine.
Her brother, Cristi Dumbravanu, helps operate an orphanage, Casa Ioana in Botosani, Romania, which is just 40 miles from Ukraine.
“We ended up taking care of refugees over the border. Taking them into our house setting them up for two nights. Taking them to different bus or train stations,” Cristi said.
It’s turned into, not just a safe haven for kids, but also for refugees to shelter.
Those at the orphanage are finding that many who arrive are very scared and overwhelmed when they arrive. She said her brother makes sure to not just give them a meal but get to know them and show them they care.
“They’re not just numbers. He listens to their stories and asks about their lives,” Carmen said.
Foster said each refugee has a different story. He has helped a pregnant woman with her baby and younger daughter and siblings whose parents had to leave them because they were sick.
Foster said her brother reached out asking for help. He said they need more funds to help buy the refugees transportation to their final destination and food to eat while they are in Romania.
In an effort to support him, she set up a GoFundMe to help.
“He said that we will, we will not be able to continue this for long unless we get funds," Carmen said."I think when I heard that, he might not be able to continue this. It just caused me to not quite panic, but be very anxious."
She worried if he's not able to help those in need, then who will?
So far the GoFundMe is less than halfway to their goal of $50,000 — the amount he said he will need for now to support the refugees seeking help.
"This is not their final destination, right? But we're at least that stop where this horrendous strip that are making can be made a little bit,” she said.
You can help donate to the cause here.