When Linda and Alex Varga opened their San Gabriel home in April to a family of refugees from the Ukraine, Linda Varga called it the couple’s “civic duty.” Their good deed has spread throughout the community and, while the response has been substantial, there are still many ways to help.
The Vargas spoke at Thursday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of San Marino, where the tenor of the message was of extreme gratitude while there was also mention of what can still be done while war rages on in their homeland.
“Housing is the No. 1 need,” said Linda Varga. “And we still need money as well.”
The Vargas are about to undergo an extensive home remodel and could use some housing for Yulana, Mariia and Oksana Sychenko, who fled their country after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
While the family is safe, Linda Varga said they can use three single rooms or any combination of open space to help house five people, including three single units and one for a mother and her 13-year-old daughter.
“Free is best, but maybe reduced rent,” Linda Varga said.
The Sychenkos can also use money, gift cards — anything that can be used to purchase necessities.
Oksana Sychenko, the mother of the family, would ideally like to find a dwelling where she can live with Mariia, who is 13 years old and currently enrolled at San Marino’s Huntington Middle School.
“Mariia is thriving,” Linda Varga said. “We are hoping that she is able to stay at Huntington.”
Refugees from Ukraine are able to secure only what are called parole visas, which allow an individual who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States to be in this country for a temporary period for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
Linda Varga encouraged anyone who would like to help the family to email her at email@example.com or call (626) 419-8725.