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Chula Vista church families continue to help Ukrainian families

A Chula Vista church that was providing temporary shelter to thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the war continues to help, but now its role has changed.

Calvary San Diego has been a refuge for Ukrainians who had just crossed the border from Tijuana, on the last leg of their journey. Less than two weeks ago it was bustling with families coming and going and volunteers coordinating.

Joy Metzger, with Calvary San Diego, said they opened their doors when they saw the need. "We’ve had over 2500 people coming in and through, either sleeping, waiting for their next transport, taking a shower and then heading off."

But now, the campus is back to normal. Calvary San Diego has stepped back, as nonprofits with greater access to government funded services are stepping in.


"Not because we don’t want to be involved but we want the Ukrainians [to be] provided medical services. We had young children, we had babies, we had pregnant women," said Metzger.

RELATED: Hundreds of Ukrainians fleeing the war wait at US-Mexico border

They’re still working with families at the border, helping them find transportation, coordinating translators and finding host families from their church.

The Seydels from Bonita are among the 75 families who've stepped up to help. They're empty nesters who raised seven children and have four grandchildren. They are now hosting the Chornobai family — the second family that’s stayed with them.

"It’s not like having strangers in our house. It’s like ... I feel like we’ve known them," said Sue Seydel.


"They are so good, we are so thankful to God for Roy and Susan, they are so good people … they are like angels," said Max Chornobai, who is staying there with his wife Viktoria and two children.

Chornobai said the journey here was tough. They were afraid they would not make it out alive.

"It was very scary because she’s standing in line and they can send bombs to this line," he said about his family.

When they got to the border with Mexico, they lost their luggage and missed their ride. The Seydels took them in, helped them get some clothes, showed them around San Diego and even raised money for their airfare to Kentucky, where they have family.

RELATED: How a bakery in Ukraine is offering hope and employment in a time of crisis

"We love you guys you’re so amazing thanks for everything," said Chornobai to Sue, adding he wasn't just saying that for T.V. — it's how he feels in his heart.

"We wanted to help them and bless them but they have been a huge blessing to us," said Sue.

Right now 75 families from Calvary San Diego have opened their homes to families from Ukraine.

"We’re very proud of our community, of how they came together," said Metzger.