Overnight as bombs dropped in Kyiv, Ukraine, 10 children were bunkered down in a small, cold and damp root cellar near Chornobyl, watched over by the staff of rescue shelter Jeremiah's Hope.
Russian troops were stationed just 10 miles away.
“It’s pretty eerie to think that they could be on the doorstep in literally 15 to 20 minutes,” said the ministry’s Executive Director Andrew Kelly.
From Texas, Kelly tried to evacuate the kids. But by the time the Ukrainian government gave him the green light, it was too late.
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Thursday, his staff worked to get food to nearby families in need.
Others he knows sought shelter with strangers while trying to flee or separated from family to stay behind and fight.
“My friend who is staying behind to defend the city tonight took aid out to Ukrainian soldiers yesterday, and he came under shelling as he was trying to leave the city early this morning to get home to his family. And to think that tonight after risking his life, he's now out risking his life again, and his wife and his kids are sleeping under a tree out in the middle of a field hours away from him. Yeah, there's nothing to make that better," he said.
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Dallas resident Zainah Alshahrour has heard similar stories from the students turned friends she volunteers to teach English to online through ENGin.
“I just want people to know that Ukrainians are just like us. They have a life. They go to festivals. They go to concerts. They go to restaurants. They live their life normally, but now they can't live it normally because of Russia. So whatever we can do, we should help them out as much as we can,” said Alshahrour.
Just hours into the invasion, Kelly said it was too soon to know what support would be needed.
With community support, Jeremiah's Hope stands ready to help.
He hopes others will do the same.
“If you are a Christian, I would encourage you to pray like you've never prayed before for the people of Ukraine. If you know people in Ukraine, reach out to them and encourage them. And three, find a charity that's involved in Ukraine and get behind them and give. You know, just we need to do all we can for the Ukrainian people,” said Kelly.