Erie for Ukraine Collecting Donations for Expecting Mothers
In just one day, Yulia Velymchanystia's entire world was dramatically changed.
On February 23, the Ukrainian native found out she was pregnant with her first child.
"She looked (my) results and said, congratulations, you're seven weeks pregnant." said Yulia.
The next day, Russia began its attack on Ukraine.
"On the one hand, I was very happy that I'm going to give birth to my child," said Yulia. "On the other hand, I was so afraid. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to expect for the future, for my child, my family."
That same day, Yulia, her brother, and his family drove to the Ukraine-Polish border to escape.
"My brother, he had to stay in Ukraine," said Yulia. "His wife and three children and I went to Germany."
Yulia and her husband spent the following two months in Germany. He had been there for work three weeks prior to the Russian attack.
In April, his brother offered the couple a place to stay in Erie.
However, Yulia's family remains in Ukraine.
"Every morning, I wake up and I check the news," said Yulia. "I worry about them. I feel that I'm afraid if there is a bomb, it would destroy everything."
The couple is now receiving help from Erie for Ukraine.
The group has launched a new project called Mama to Be.
Donations can be made through an online registry, which helps out pregnant women from Ukraine who are now living in Erie.
Yulia says the support means the world.
"I'm very thankful to everyone who helps, for their kindness to me and my child, my baby, I will never forget that," said Yulia. "May God bless you."
If you would like to donate, you can do so here.
This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.