'Help us, we will fight:' Local woman helps Ukrainian refugees

Tanya Kravchenko-Lewis
Posted at 3:45 PM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 06:41:37-04

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Mt. Juliet woman who runs a nonprofit in Ukraine flew to Poland to help with the refugee crisis.

When the Russian invasion started, Tanya Kravchenko-Lewis was heartsick for her homeland.

"If you look at the map, you see how little we are and how huge is Russia, and we fight. People just lay down and protect their local cities and homes without any weapons, anything," Kravchenko-Lewis said.

From Mt. Juliet, she runs a nonprofit called Journey to Freedom, which provides counseling to those in need through assistance from Missions Development International.

They quickly pivoted to help refugees, and she got most of her nonprofit workers out of Ukraine.

One of the people with her organization stayed back in Odessa, Ukraine, to help those unable to travel. She said they’re worried about having enough food.

"I want to do more," Kravchenko-Lewis said. “I just feel helpless because I’m here."

She has a way to get aid into the country from the border, so she's asking for donations.

"I have a friend and she’s a military doctor," Kravchenko-Lewis said. "She called me and she said, 'Tanya we need help, we don’t have enough medical kit for soldiers. We need this kit, and we cannot buy them in Ukraine.'"

Seeing so much suffering is gut-wrenching, she said. She wishes more could be done to stop it.

"Help us, we will fight," Kravchenko-Lewis said. "We are brave people, but if Putin will continue to bomb our cities and destroy everything — all infrastructure, kill our people — we need help with closing the sky above Ukraine."

This week she's working with the Polish church, ICF, to provide trauma counseling to refugees. She also found apartments for several families.

If you want to help, checks can be sent with "JTFUA" in the memo line and mailed to:

Missions Development International
326 21st Ave. N
Suite 203
Nashville, TN 37203

If you want to help Tanya directly, you can send it here.