MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Pamela Hines, CEO and president of the nonprofit Gold and Blue United, started the organization to help Ukraine and Russia refugees who are fleeing the war.

The organization provides any kind of assistance or humanitarian needs to the Ukrainian and Russian refugees fleeing the war. They said they want to act as a pillar of hope between refugee’s desperation and hope of survival and pursuit of happiness.

Hines opened up about why she wanted to help the refugees. “It was more like a calling for me. I was sitting, as a mother of four, I was sitting watching the news and seeing other mothers put their kids on their backs and pack up everything and leave their lives behind, and it just broke my heart. I put myself in their shoes for just a second and the pain that hit me, I couldn’t imagine that it was a thousand times, a million times worse for them.”

It all started when Pamela Hines was searching Facebook for a group “Moms helping Moms” from Ukraine. She reached out to the page and asked what she could do to help from the United States. They then decided to become nonprofits to help together. They help in any way, whether it be a ride, resources or connections to different services.

“Vira Volunteers,” the nonprofit she is working with, is a group of 40 women in Bucharest, Romania. Between them and the natural network that was created, they all work hand and hand. Hines continues to reach out to people through Facebook groups who are posting desperately for a sponsor. She asks them to fill out the intake form on their website.

At the beginning, when she could finally get families sponsored, Hines said, “at first, I would wake up discouraged, when I would get messages from people of “please I’m desperate, I need help, I need help.” and my hands were tied, it’s like I cant get you here. You know? And then they opened the sponsorship program. Everything, I started waking up to messages of people opening their computers and getting travel authorization and their whole family’s screaming around a computer like its a college admissions letter, you know? But it’s more than a college admissions letter, it’s a chance at a new life.”

Once they find a sponsor who matches the credentials of family and the lifestyle they live, they will get them together to communicate. If they feel they would be comfortable to live with the sponsor, the refugees will then fill out paperwork and travel to Morgantown or wherever the sponsor is located. After getting settled, they deal with all their major needs, like getting them to food pantries, clothes and medical needs.

When she first started, people reached out to assist with housing. Several companies within’ Morgantown, as well as individual landlords, offered places for refugees to stay, because it is hard to find anyone who will give them residency while being a non-citizen. Hines wants to become a corporate sponsor so that landlords can lease places to her and then she can sublease to the families in need.

Hines said she feels it is important to help the refugees because as an American, we are raised with freedom instilled in us. She said that Ukraine received their democratic process a few years ago, they’ve never known this kind of freedom. They were just at a point of growth and Putin wanted to take that away because it was threatening.

Living in a free country, she believes everyone has the right to freedom. “Even if the war stopped tomorrow, this is years of reconstruction, not only physically to the land, but to the people and injuries they’ve received, mentally and family dynamics, so much loss and pain,” she said. Hines told herself she could never fail if she could at least help one person.

Right now, the organization is not funded, she is patiently waiting to get enough funding to financially prove in the I-34 form through the Government, so that she can be able to personally sponsor as a corporate sponsor. They have about 150 families waiting on a sponsorship waitlist. Most of them have parents in Ukraine or family members stuck across the world with no way to get to them.

Gold and Blue United has helped bring 39 families and 17 individuals to Morgantown. All together, they have helped around 75 families across country.

It is Pamela Hines’ dream to meet all of the families and people they have helped at a big benefit dinner one day, to see the impact they have made and to meet the people she has made connections with during the helping process.

She will be meeting one of the first women refugees she started talking to on June 29, when she picks her and her son up from the airport. The two have had a difficult journey getting to the United States due to having to leave behind birth documents of her son, who has autism. Without the documents, her son could not get the medicine he needed, but now he can, along with some extra help.

Hines wants to thank the community of Morgantown for helping her help the refugees without it being a burden.

If they can get funding, they can sponsor multiple families and bring them to the community and help them for the two years that they are welcome. To help with funding, you can donate to their website or send checks to P.O. box 4711 Morgantown, WV 26505. If any major corporation wants to help fund the organization, they can reach out to Pamela Hines personally and work it out.