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Fund started for Ukrainian refugees in the Mohawk Valley

The Center

An effort is underway in the Mohawk Valley to help Ukrainian refugees.

Shelly Callahan, the executive director of The Center in Utica, said her organization has been helping Ukrainian families resettle in the area for decades.

And now, because of the conflict in Ukraine, she expects at least 100 refugees will be heading to the Mohawk Valley in the near future.

“There’s nothing we can do to change what they've been through, but when they get here, our hope is that we can really help them begin again,” said Callahan.

Callahan said primarily Ukrainian women and children are expected to come because so many men are staying behind to fight.

She expects those refugees will need a significant amount of support, everything from finding somewhere to live to help with trauma.

That's why the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida counties is stepping in to help raise money.

The Ukraine Crisis Relief fund was established with $50,000 from the Ronald and Sheila Cuccaro Family Fund, but organizers expect more money will be needed.

John Swann, executive vice president of the Foundation, spoke about the powerful images coming out of Ukraine.

“This is a watershed moment in European history that has international ramifications, and when it became evident that this international crisis is going to come to our doorstep in this community, (the Cuccaro family) felt compelled to step up,” he said.

Callahan said all contributions will be a big help to The Center, which is still working with evacuees from Afghanistan, and needs to replenish resources before new arrivals.

You can learn more about the fund or donate here.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.