(NewsNation) — As millions flee war-torn Ukraine, two Polish-born U.K. citizens have rented an entire hotel to house refugees in Poland escaping the Russian invasion.
Jakub and Gosia Golata saw what was happening in Ukraine and knew they had to do something. So the couple booked all 180 beds at the Park Hotel near Bydgoszcz in the northern Poland.
Right now, the Golatas have 60 refugees staying at the hotel, some as young as 3 weeks old.
“The baby was born in the middle of war and traveled to the border partially in an ambulance because that was the only way that the baby could escape,” said Gosia.
At least 20 refugees have come from one of Ukraine’s hardest hit cities, Kherson. Since the beginning of the invasion, the city near the Black Sea has been pummeled by Russian forces. Those who escape have been left traumatized, something the Golatas saw firsthand.
“We’ve been doing this for almost three weeks and right at the start the refugees were escaping fears,” Jakob said. “Now (they’re) coming from the war zones, actually witnessing or experiencing war crimes. Now almost every refugee that comes to us is actually asking for mental health support.”
In order to address the growing need, the couple hopes to expand their support services with additional funding, including offering mental health resources. To date, the Golatas have raised nearly $120,000 for Ukrainian refugees.
The Golatas were quick to redirect praise for their efforts, instead thanking all who have helped them so far.
“It’s not Jakub and Gosia only, it’s a whole nation and here in Poland our family and friends are basically in a state of emergency. … We are all in this crisis together,” said Jakob.
Since the Russian invasion began, more than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine, marking the largest exodus of refugees in Europe since World War II. More than 2 million of those have gone west to neighboring Poland.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced the United States would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing the crisis.
You can support Jakub and Gosia Golata’s efforts at the GoFundMe link here.