KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — From uncertainty to safety, a family fleeing the war in Ukraine has made it to Knoxville and now needs the community's help to get back on their feet.
The family of four entered the U.S. on Humanitarian Parole status, therefore they do not have access to many of the resources usually afforded to refugees.
The grandmother, mother, 18-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son arrived in East Tennessee nearly two weeks ago. They are staying at the home of a Center for English volunteer.
"They got here on Good Friday and they were in church on Sunday," explained volunteer Deni Kidd.
The divine timing of the family's arrival isn't lost on the people helping them out.
"I just think this is the time. This is what we should be doing," Kidd said. "I'm hoping that the community will come together and help support them."
After years of missionary work, Kidd is no stranger to helping others.
This time, it just so happens to be her best friend's family that is in need of help.
"She called me and she was crying because this family is her husband's sister," Kidd explained, referring to her Ukrainian best friend of 18 years.
The family is allowed to stay in the United States for one year only.
They cannot work without obtaining an employment visa, which can be a lengthy and costly process.
"They really came with very little and no money," Kidd said.
That's why she and another volunteer, Tiffany May Ross, are now raising funds to help the family members with basic necessities, such as medical costs.
"There was some trauma," Kidd said. "Their vision, when they were hearing the bombs, started to go. So, they need to see an eye doctor. And, one of them had started cancer treatment in Ukraine, so that needs to be followed through."
The money raised will support these family members as well as another family Kidd and Ross are attempting to bring to Knoxville.
"A rocket went through their apartment and they have a baby," Kidd said, referring to the second family. "They are literally just walking around Ukraine right now not knowing what to do."
"We can really, really change the world for one family at a time. We might not save them all, but we can save some of them," Ross added.
Kidd and Ross say any contribution, no matter how seemingly small, will make a big impact.