Ukrainian Rescue with North Texas Ties Evacuates Kids to Safety

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Among the millions fleeing Ukraine, there are nearly 6,000 orphans who’ve been evacuated.

That now includes a group of children from a shelter with North Texas ties.

From the day the first Russian bomb fell on Ukraine, Jeremiah's Hope and its executive director Andrew Kelly have been working tirelessly to get the kids they serve out of harm's way.

"It was a really long journey for the kids,” said Kelly.

It's been six weeks, spent both sheltering in a root cellar and sleeping on the floor of a school as refugees in the western part of the country, but finally, Kelly said the kids are safe.

"When I got the call that they had crossed the border, and we're in Slovakia, I just kind of kind of cried, and it was a huge weight off of my shoulders for once,” he said.

Kelly said the kids were driven to the border where they crossed on foot. From there, they were treated to two nights in a hotel, with beds and a pool before taking off in the middle of the night to finish their journey through Austria, Slovenia and finally Croatia.

There, thanks to donations, they were welcomed to a house they can temporarily call home.

“They have lived concerned and lived in shelters, and they've just been stuck, and so that's the way I would describe it. And then on the flip side, now you've got kids laughing and playing and jumping on a trampoline and life is getting back to childhood for them,” said Kelly.

For the kids, there's still trauma to work through. And for the ministry, there's still work to be done.

Back in Ukraine, all of Jeremiah’s Hope staff is accounted for and working to get food into the impoverished villages they served before the war.

Eventually, Kelly hopes the kids will return. Though for now, he's grateful to know they're safe and sleeping in their own beds for the first time since the Russian invasion began.

"I definitely have hope that will take these kids back to Ukraine one day, and that our ministry will be back in full operation, and that we’ll continue to be able to work with children and families and that Chornobyl area for decades to come,” he said.

Jeremiah’s Hope is working to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of evacuating the kids.

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