MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — While the Ukrainian people have had more success in stopping Russia than most people thought at the start, there has still been a huge amount of damage to the country and has left thousands displaced.

A group based out of churches in the area around Marshalltown formed to help more Ukrainian refugees come to the U.S. The group is called Marshalltown United for Ukraine.

“As we started to see the war in Ukraine, what Russia was doing, our hearts really went out to what was happening,” said Alan Talbert, of Marshalltown. “We mulled around that for a while, but in July we started to see the opportunity we had to use our home, and realized we had some room in our basement and we could convert that with a kitchen.”

For Oleksandr (Sacha) and his wife Olya, and four boys Mark, Slav, Argenni, and Tymur they set out to live in the USA and, through a sponsorship agency, they landed in Marshalltown.

Conversation is fluent in this house, even though the Ukrainian family speaks little English and the Talberts don’t speak Ukrainian, they use Google Translate on their phones to understand each other.

“We have a war and it’s not clear when it will end but I think that Ukraine will defeat this evil enemy,” said Sacha.

“It was very difficult for us, we thought about the future of our children. Then we decided to go to the USA,” said Olya.

The group Marshalltown United for Ukraine has been hoping to get more people involved in hosting and raising funds to help with the relocation of families. Sacha still has relatives in Ukraine who would like to come to the United States.

Alan Talbert said the community support is critical, he credits his boss at Emerson where he works with letting him spend time on helping the family.

For more information on how to help Ukrainian refugees, email Kathy Duncan