Ukrainian refugees now living in the Twin Cities head south to help tornado victims

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Rolling Fork, Mississippi, is on the other side of the globe from Ukraine, but images of the tornado destruction there are hitting close to home for a group of Ukrainian refugees now living in the Twin Cities. 

They see the devastation and the loss, and they see reminders of the homeland they have left behind.

“I came from a situation like that,” said Iryna Hrebenyk, who arrived in the Twin Cities from Ukraine in January. “It’s a disaster. I feel bad for these people.”

“They have no homes, no water,” she added.

That’s why the nonprofit The American Service is helping organize a small group of Ukrainian refugees, some of whom have only lived in the Twin Cities a few months, to deliver supplies and aid to tornado victims in Mississippi. They are driving 1,000 miles, picking up a 50-foot U-Haul and filling it with supplies along the way.

“These are some of the hardest-working, generous people I have met. To see them respond like this doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Aswar Rahman, Executive Director of The American Service. “You can tell they have a lot of love for the country that has welcomed them, and they want to show that love.”

The group will spend a few days on the ground and return by Friday. They say the main plan is to deliver as many pallets of water as possible.