Franklin group helps refugees in Poland

The Outreach Foundation in Poland
Posted at 8:12 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 21:12:27-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As millions flee Ukraine to neighboring countries, one Franklin group is trying to help.

The Outreach Foundation has a group in Poland aiding refugees as thousands cross the border.

Images at Warsaw Central Railway Station show hundreds sleeping on the floor. It's served as a center for people fleeing the war.

Ukrainian refugees sheltering in Warsaw train station

The Outreach Foundation is a Franklin-based refugee help group who currently have a team of people in Warsaw.

"We know through other experiences with this type of situation in Syria, in Lebanon, in South Sudan, in Ethiopia, this type of situation goes on for years," said Mark Mueller, director of the foundation.

Mueller said he and the team will be there for about a week.

They've already connected with hundreds of refugees providing food, water, clothing and as much transportation as they can.

"That doesn't even begin to address the trauma and all the feelings that the refugees have had to navigate in this whole process," he said.

Len's Outreach Team

Mark is connecting with people like Lena Vasylevska, a refugee who fled Ukraine on February 24, the day the bombing started.

She said it took days to get into Poland.

"People keep coming," said Vasylevska. "With all the bombings and all the war that's constantly happening in Ukraine we will have people cross the border as long as this is going on."

Vasylevska took pictures during her journey. She captured the huge line of cars to get into Poland and incredibly sad sights crosses in rubble.

Crosses in Ukraine

The text reads "Here is what they look like now". Written on two cross are the names Ivan Met, born December 4, 2009 and Maria Met, born February 14, 1980.

Mueller said there are 300,000 refugees in the Warsaw area right now.

150,000 of those are children.

Children sleeping along train station wall in Poland

Some sleeping along the walls of the train station on the floor.

Mueller thinks this is just the beginning.

"There's nothing to go back to," he said. "You can look at the scenes of the devastation in Kyiv or the devastation throughout Ukraine. It's the start of a new way of life that unfortunately needs everybody's help."

Crowd under the ruins in Ukraine

The Outreach Foundation said this is just their first trip.

They're using some of their money to also send aid to places like hospitals in Kyiv that are in desperate need of medical supplies.