LUBLIN, POLAND – Our coverage of the Ukrainian refugee crisis in Poland continues. Our team in Poland visited Erie’s sister city: Lublin, Poland.
Weeks ago when the Russian invasion into Ukraine began, we’re told refugees were packed into trains headed for eastern polish cities like Lublin, which is Erie, Pennsylvania’s sister city. Regional officials said the number of refugees traveling to Lublin has calmed down but they worry another large wave will come. If that happens, they’ve got an entire system in place to help them when they arrive.
They’ve set up a makeshift medical office for refugees getting off the train, as well as an information center which helps them find housing in the area. They’ve also set up a small warehouse at the train station which is stocked with donations like food, baby food, clothes, blankets and strollers. They’ve also set up a place for them to rest as they wait for the next train.
Outside of the station, Lublin is using every space available to house refugees and their families. For example, they’ve transformed a building that was formerly used to house artists but now large families are calling this building home.
Other families are being housed in Lublin’s grand multicultural center. They’re staying in rooms similar to a hotel room. It’s also a space for the kids to just be kids where they can draw, play with arts and crafts and go to school.
They’re even finding ways to help employ refugees. “We just organized one place for a Ukrainian woman from Kiev she worked with wax candles,” said a worker with the multicultural center. These smaller candles are now being used in a nearby church.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our sister city relationship at this point,” said Gretchen Seth with Logistics Plus.
Seth is with Erie’s local company Logistics Plus. They’ve raised roughly 640-thousand dollars in relief and have sent donations to their locations in Europe to help Ukraine.
She met with the regional Marshal, which is equivalent to a Lt. Governor position. He told us they’ve spent millions to help Ukraine and are also sending their own ambulances and generators to help the cause. They’ve also opened their own homes to refugees.
Both became emotional talking about the impact of this crisis and thankful for the help they’ve received from us.
“It just makes us want to redouble our efforts,” said Seth. “Collect more, gather more, raise more, to be able to send it to the people here so they can help the people of Ukraine.”