SACRMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — In East Sacramento, you don’t have to look far to see support for Ukraine.
John Crater and Helen Sundet knew they needed to do more to help than just donate.
“I said to Helen, there is something we have to do. We have the room, we have the space,” said Crater.
They took in the Kavranska family and their home of two expanded to a house of six
“There is nothing else we could do but this. We just felt really strongly about taking in somebody and helping them out,” said Crater.
The mother of the Kavranska family said they fled the city of Odesa in southern Ukraine as Russian forces bombed their hometown.
“Terrible things are happening in Ukraine, terrible things,” Kavranska said speaking through a translator.
She said the journey to safety was scary and long and the train that carried them to safety was full.
“I put the children in the compartment and my oldest daughter and I were sitting on the floor because there was no room. We spent a very difficult road because we didn’t go out for two and a half days from the train,” she said.
While she and her three children fled to Poland her husband stayed behind to help defend the nation. While it was a difficult decision to make, she says she had to do whatever she could to save the children.
“It is impossible to put into words. When you’re watching TV, it’s one thing. When you’re there and you don’t know what will happen to you— You are a simple person and you just want to live and you want your children to live, “she said.
The family met Crater and Sundet through the Spring of Life Church.
The families continued to bond over Easter despite a language barrier.
“Thank God for Google Translate,” said Sundet. “We have had them for three weeks and they are absolutely part of our family. We love them dearly.”
The family says they are grateful to be fortunate enough to escape the violence.
“This month has come perfectly. I asked the children ‘Let’s go home.’ they don’t want to go home. They say it is scary. There are sirens there. My children are very good. I see the smile and joy on their faces,” said Kavranska.
A previous version of this story misidentified where the host home was located. The story has been updated with the correct information.