Wisconsin Couple Traveling To Ukrainian Border To Help Refugees Escape

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images)

After watching sobering images on television of Ukrainian refugees fleeing their homes amid the Russian invasion, Carol and Christopher Mastronardo booked tickets overseas to help bus them to safety.

“This is a tiny little speck of what we can do to help these people.”

At a Glance

  • A Wisconin couple is on their way to Italy today to help the millions of Ukrainian Refugees who are fleeing to the Poland border.
  • Once there, they will sponsor buses that carry families to Italy.
  • In Italy, charities will find local families to host the refugees until it is safe for them to return to their counry.
  • The couple raised over $37,000 to fund their mission.

Christopher and Carol Mastronardo Are Headed to Italy to Help Bus Ukrainian Refugees to Temporary Homes in Italy

The couple left Wisconsin today and headed to Italy. Once they land, Christopher and Carol will take a bus to the Ukraine-Poland border. From there, the Mastronardos will sponsor buses that pick up Ukrainian refugees at the border and take them to safety in Milan.

Italian charities will then place the families in temporary housing until the war ends and the people can return to Ukraine.

Christopher and Carol booked one-way tickets to ensure they can stay in Europe as long as they’re needed.

The idea came to the couple after they watched endless footage of refugees on the nightly news. Carol explained the situation as “surreal,” and said she knew she was called to do something more than stare at a screen.

“When you see the little kids walking across the border, and you know they’re leaving their homes, and when this is over, hopefully soon, they have nothing to go back to,” Christopher told ABC affiliate WISN 12.

Wisconsin Couple Has Raised More than $37,000 to Fund their Mission

Carol, who has worked as a travel agent for 45 years, immediately got to work calling her connections in the industry to help get her to the border. And she also began raising funds for her mission. Before leaving today, friends, colleagues, and strangers had donated more than $37,000 to the mission through a GoFundMe page.

The couple will use the money to pay for the buses, drivers, and supplies. And whatever they have left will go to the charities that are helping to house the refugees.

“We don’t understand exactly what we’re going to see once we get there,” Carol said. “We may even be able to do more than we expect. We’re on our way. We’re on our way to help — do what we can. Thank you, again, for everyone. The donations have been so kind and generous. It’s amazing.”