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Ukraine families fleeing to US need sponsors, Toledo Helps Ukraine founder says

Local organizations, like Toledo Helps Ukraine, are providing food and other essentials for Ukrainians arriving in the U.S. But the most needed resource is sponsors.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — Borys Dzhanaiev and his family took four flights traveling from his home in Kherson, Ukraine, to get to the U.S.

"For me it was difficult," Dzhanaiev said. "In my country, I had it all. I had a job, I had a house. We built our house. It was important for us. We (had to) drop everything and run away."

Dzhanaiev quickly connected with Toledo Helps Ukraine. The local organization has been helping Ukrainian refugees find resources and stable housing since the start of the war. He wasn't expecting all the help he's received.

"For us, it was a surprise that a family that don't know us were ready to take us into his house, in private life," Dzhanaiev said. "For us, it was really surprising."

He found a sponsor in Sylvania's Wayne Kinsel, a retired veteran who said the decision to help the family just made sense.

"Unfortunately, I've seen the ugly side of war in other parts of the world," Kinsel said. "This is one we've been talking about for a very long time. When I met Alona (Matchenko), it put all the pieces together."

Matchenko, the founder of Toledo Helps Ukraine, said the organization is doing everything it can to help. But the biggest challenge right now is getting Americans who can sponsor or vouch for refugees.

"There are many Toledoans willing to become a sponsor. It's just a matter of connecting to each other," she said.

Those interested in applying can do so here. Applicants need to confirm their eligibility before being matched to a family or individual.

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