HOUSTON - A Houston woman returned home this week after spending the last three weeks overseas, volunteering to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the deadly Russian attacks.
On Easter Sunday, Nell Lukosavich returned home to Houston and gave her 7-year-old son Wesley, a big, long hug.
"I missed him so much. I was spending so much time with these kids every day, and it made me miss my son so much more," Nell said.
For the last three weeks, Nell left everything behind to selflessly volunteer her time with Ukrainian refugees crossing the Polish border. Fluent in Polish and proficient in Ukrainian, Nell proved to be a huge asset for refugees searching for a beacon of hope.
"I spent all my days working at the East Warsaw train station. So many strangers would come and hug me, because they’re like Oh my God, you can help us. Finally, we’re not alone," Nell said.
Leading up to her trip abroad, Nell raised more than $10,000 and collected 250 pounds of essential supplies to distribute.
But even with all her formal training with the Ukraine Refugee Relief group and weeks of packing, nothing could’ve prepared her for the harsh reality of the refugee situation.
"I expected it to be hard, interacting with people that are so grief-stricken and so upset, but it was even harder than I expected. It’s that look that people have on their faces, and you see them when they come off the train. They’re terrified and so tired and so confused," Nell said.
Although exhausting and overwhelming at times, Nell’s encouraging others to follow in her footsteps to help meet the demand.
"The biggest need is for people. Just this one train station had 1,500 people coming through a day sometimes. And it’s 24 hours a day. Sometimes on these later shifts, I would take like from midnight to 6 a.m., sometimes there’d be like three of us and 200 people coming on," Nell said.
Nell said she’s now in the process of planning another volunteer trip back to Poland sometime in May or June.