Former Green Bay resident houses Ukrainian refugees in Germany

A private European organization connected Carla with the Ukrainian families.
Published: Apr. 17, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - In the past two months since Russia invaded Ukraine people have gone above and beyond to help the million forced to flee their home country. One woman shares her story after she moved from Green Bay back home to Germany to help Ukrainian refugees.

“Because when I was in Green Bay the Ukraine, this thing started,” former Green Bay resident Carla Schaefer remembered. “Everybody was asking but I figured out that nobody really knew what is going on or how horrible this is.”

Husband and wife Clint and Carla Schaefer lived in Green Bay for about two and a half months before German native Carla had to go back to a town in Dusseldorf Germany to run the family restaurant. Plymouth born Clint stayed behind as Carla inherited the family estate built in about 1317. Two weeks ago, she opened the former fortress doors from the Middle ages to two Ukrainian best friends and their four children, after one lost a husband in an explosion before the war.

“This is why I didn’t like it to look like a hero,” Carla shared. “I think this is a give and take. If you do good stuff, good stuff is coming back to you.”

Pictures Carla shared with Action 2 News show of some of the Easter cards and gifts the Ukrainian refugees gave to her on Easter Sunday to show their appreciation for her putting a roof over their head for free.

A private European organization connected Carla with the Ukrainian families.

“We were actually trying to enroll into refugee programs that are already in existence like the Red Cross or the Caritas but actually they didn’t have space for us, or they didn’t have positions for us,” Christina Aalbers, a private Ukrainian relief supporter in Germany, said. “They just said ‘Oh you can donate money.’ Then we were thinking that’s not enough for us. So we kind of set up our own organization.”

Sandra Raut’s aunt Elena Podoliaka and uncle Mykola Shkuratov transport people and supplies throughout France, Poland, and Ukraine. They actually gave their Family an Easter surprise during the Sunday Zoom call with Action 2 News.

“These are my relatives,” Sandra showed via Zoom. “They have arrived in this moment so I hadn’t seen them before in the last year so I’m happy that they are here.”

“She was trying to reach out to all the people that she knows,” another private organization supporter Tetyana Pozhar said in German and Christina translated in English. “The great factor over here is that Sandra and also Tanja [Tetyana] they have so many relatives and connections in the Ukraine where they can really connect to people that they have known for years.”

“I think it’s very important,” Myriam Falkenberg, one of the private organization helpers, emphasized. “The Ukrainians have the same democratic values as Germans or Americans therefore it is important that the rest of the world stand hand in hand with the Ukrainians.”

To donate toward supplies for the Ukrainians, you can visit the private organization’s GoFundMe by clicking here.

For the past two weeks, six Ukrainian refugees have been living with former Green Bay resident Carla Schaefer.

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