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Nonprofit helps turn East Bay apartment into a home for Ukrainian family

After volunteers spent a day furnishing and arranging the Danville apartment, the three occupants-to-be stepped in.

Standing behind her son, Galya paused and put her hand to her chest. “Oh, it’s really home. Oh, my god.” 

She, her son and her husband Dima are refugees from Ukraine whose lives had been touched by conflict even before Russia’s invasion last year, according to information provided by the nonprofit Grateful Gatherings.

They first had to leave their hometown, Donetsk, in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea led to violent conflict in eastern Ukraine. 

They made a new home in Bucha, which lasted until Russian forces invaded in late February, 2022. The city quickly became the scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the early days of the war. 

The family escaped to Poland after the war broke out, bringing just three bags of belongings with them. There they waited for several months until they were able to come to the U.S. through the Uniting for Ukraine program. 

The three, after arriving in Concord, found a temporary palace today when a Danville woman took them in. 

Dima and Galya, hoping to stay in their new community, spent months looking for a place they could call their own. Eventually, with the help of some other organizations, they were able to do just that — though still only furnishing it with the few belongings they came with. 

That’s where the non-profit Grateful Gatherings came in. With the help of donated items from the community, volunteers spent a few hours Saturday turning the apartment into a home.

“They have a completely furnished home,” said the organization’s co-founder and Director of Programs Chris Flitter. “And with all they would ever need. Towels, and kitchen supplies, and bedding, and laundry detergent and just all the things that cost a lot. And now they have a fresh start.”

When the family stepped in, they were all smiles as they looked around. 

“Guys, you are amazing,” Galya told the crew. “I just brought these chairs and thought ‘okay, it’s enough for us.’ But now it’s a real home. You made for us a really cozy, nice — just an amazing, amazing place.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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