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Neighbors collecting clothes, money for Ukrainian refugee family in Agawam

In Agawam, a family of refugees from Ukraine is now staying with their uncle and cousins after fleeing from their homes.
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 8:05 PM EDT
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AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Wednesday marks one month since Russia invaded Ukraine, and every day, people are leaving their homes to escape the war.

In Agawam, a family of refugees from Ukraine is now staying with their uncle and cousins after fleeing from their homes. Western Mass News sat down with them and found out how the community is coming together to help them.

Slavic and Luba Gun arrived here in Agawam with their five kids on Saturday. After waking to shootings and seeing a rocket coming down from the sky, they said that their only option was to flee the country, bringing only one backpack of clothing each.

They traveled to Romania, then Moldova to Mexico, California, Boston, and eventually to Agawam. Slavic told Western Mass News they are glad to be safe now in America and are thankful to be accepted.

“When they first came here, he said, they were greeted with warmth,” said Mark Salagornik, translating for Slavic. “They’re happy to be here, and he was most worried about his kids.”

The family said that they will be happy with any kind of help the community is able to provide.

After hearing their story, one of the family’s neighbors, Kaila Chianciola and her daughter Aubrey, are organizing a drive to help get donations for the refugees.

“When we found out they had to leave everything in Ukraine, we wanted to help out!” Kaila told us.

“Only one bag,” Aubrey said.

“We couldn’t help give monetary donations or a place to live, so we thought doing this clothes drive would help them,” Kaila explained.

Wednesday’s drive wrapped up around 5:30, but if you have donations you want to drop off, you can bring them inside JJ’s Soft Serve in Agawam Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 3 and 8 p.m.

If you want to give a monetary donation, you can donate through their GoFundMe.