LONGMONT, Colo. (KDVR) — A Ukrainian family that fled to Colorado to escape the ongoing war is now asking for community support after spending their savings on a used car, only to find out it doesn’t run.
The couple has only been in the U.S. for a few months and spent nearly $5,000 on a Nissan Xterra, but it had a faulty transmission and died almost immediately. After already going through so much, they’re now out of money and a set of wheels.
Losing everything after fleeing Ukraine
It’s been a long road for Inna and her husband. Inna came to the U.S. nearly 4 months ago, her son 8 months ago because of fears of being drafted, and her husband nearly 2 months ago under the Uniting for Ukraine program.
The couple and their children said they had no choice but to flee war-torn Ukraine after the Russian invasion. Now they are refugees in Colorado with hopes of building a new life, currently living in Longmont with their sponsor family.
“It’s not easy. We have a normal job in Ukraine and we just lost all,” Inna said. “I want to cry.”
But for this family, there is no time for tears. They’ve been hard at work, from sunup to sundown, trying to make ends meet. Inna and her husband work more than 8 hours a day doing multiple jobs, including cooking, cleaning and painting. Inna shared with FOX31 that sometimes they have to walk to their jobs.
Driving would take 8 minutes, but a walk takes an hour, Inna said.
“It’s not easy. We just need this car,” she said.
Savings lost after used car breaks down
After months of saving up, the family found a car on Facebook Marketplace for $4,500 and wanted to buy it from the seller. She met with the man and he said everything was OK with the car.
But that wasn’t the case. Inna says within minutes of purchase, the car broke down and they took it to a mechanic. The mechanic told the couple the car’s transmission was blown. Inna said they called the seller back and he refused to return their money.
“Of course, I feel not great,” Inna said. She said they are confused and here in the U.S. alone, while her husband encourages her, saying it helps their family grow strong.
While still dealing with the traumas of war and leaving everything they love behind, now they’ve been taken advantage of.
Summer Zera and her husband hired Inna and her husband to help paint their home and have grown close over the past few weeks.
“It’s really sad and we’re better than that,” Zera said. “When they told me about the car, my heart just broke, like how could somebody take advantage of a family that’s lost everything and is working so hard to rebuild? Experiencing that after working so hard was pretty depleting for them.”
Fundraiser started to help family
Zera knew she wanted to help and started an online fundraiser, asking for community support.
“Seeing this family go through all that they have and them come into my house every day with a smiling face, willing to work, putting hours upon hours into their family — I just would hope the community would see how amazing that is and how resilient this family is,” Zera said.
The proceeds from the fundraiser are going to Inna and her family to hopefully fix their transmission, but Zera wants to raise enough money to get them a new functioning car, telling FOX31 “they deserve it.”