Milwaukee camp helps Ukrainian family flee from Kyiv

NOW: Milwaukee camp helps Ukrainian family flee from Kyiv

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A network of people helped a Ukrainian family flee Kyiv and welcomed them into Milwaukee. The eldest daughter, Maria Stanishevska, said it took a village to get them to safety.

"My parents woke me up and my sister around 6 (a.m) and they said, 'Maria, wake up, the war just started and Russia is bombing and crushing everything,'" said Stanishevska.

Stanishevska said her family packed bags with their most important items. They fled their home and sought shelter in an underground parking lot. She said the sounds of bombs still haunt her.

"It was very scary," said Stanishevska.

On March 1, Maria and her sister Polina made their way to Poland, having to wait 11 hours to board a train. The sisters touched down in Chicago March 6. Their commute was made possible through their connection with Camp Interlaken. The two girls have grown up spending every summer at the camp.

A camp counselor drove six hours to pick the girls up from Poland.

"When the war started, everyone started texting me,  especially from Interlaken," said Stanishevska.

One of the people who reached out was camp director Toni Davison Levenberg.

"Camp Interlaken is really a family and we help our family. We do whatever we can do to support and help our family," said Levenberg.

Levenberg is collecting food and clothing for the family, who now live with a grandparent in Milwaukee.

This past week, Levenberg reached out to her Facebook community for more donations. To help the family, email Levenberg at [email protected].

The outpouring of support is something Stanishevska didn't expect.

She said she hopes by sharing her story, it makes it real for Americans.

"It's real war and its very scary and people need help. Not everyone has a chance to leave Ukraine. Even not everyone has a chance to go to west of Ukraine."

The Stanishevskas are still acclimating to the area and hope one day to return to a peaceful Ukraine.

Share this article: