ROANOKE, Va. – Ukraine is more than 5,000 miles away from the United States but Southwest Virginians are stepping up to show support.
Watching the horrific bombings in Ukraine, Vinton resident Matthew Owen felt a sudden urge to help.
“I feel I should do more,” he said.
With two spare bedrooms in his home, Owen connected with two Ukrainian women and a 9-year-old child on Facebook who are searching for shelter.
“I mean, they are going to need all the support with whatever what they carry besides themselves,” he said. “They are going to need everything.”
He said the family is still in the process of getting a visa to come to the United States but will be at the airport to pick them up as soon as they come.
“I think that if more of us stepped up and help make the world just a little bit better,” he said, “It could just make a difference.”
Turning on blue and yellow lights, the Wells Fargo Tower is showing support by honoring the colors of the Ukraine Flag.
President of Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group Matthew Huff manages the property of the tower and controls the lights.
He tells 10 News, “the Wells Fargo Tower wanted to show solidarity with the people suffering in Ukraine as well as with members of Roanoke’s Ukrainian community.”
“We hope this small gesture brings reassurance to those in our community suffering during these tragic events that they are not alone,” he adds. “We are with you.”
On Friday, the Freedom Tower at Liberty University showed their solidarity too and are sending their prayers.
The university’s president, Jerry Prevo, released a statement saying, “in the midst of so much danger and chaos in the world, we are asking for the peace that only Christ can bring.”
“We are praying for Ukraine and take comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ has overcome the world,” Prevo added.
Sunflowers have become another image of support as it’s Ukraine’s national flower.
Beaver Dam Farm Sunflowers in Buchanan produced 100 packets of sunflower seeds to pass out to people for free.
Each one has a sticker with a message: “Sunflowers for Solidarity. A planting for Ukraine.”
Candace Monaghan, the farm’s sunflower festival founder, said it breaks her heart to see the families struggle to escape.
“In one way or another we can all relate on a personal level as far as having family and somebody going through a tough situation,” she said. “And just all of us showing support here and taking one little step to say hey we are thinking of you. We are in this together.”
Monaghan will pass some of the packets to vendors and the others will be available at some of the local grocery stores in Buchanan and Daleville for the next few weeks.
You can find them at Ikenberry Orchards in Daleville and at The Best Place Antiques, Faithful Country Creations and Ribbon Me This in Buchanan.