Oklahoma City couple helps Ukrainian family financially through Air BnB

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — An Oklahoma City couple said they helped a Ukrainian family overseas as the war with Russia raged. How they do it might also surprise you. This is via the Air BnB vacation rental and accommodation site. The couple called it the Air BnB community.

Siri and her family.

“She keeps calling us brothers and sisters and she is really surprised and inspired by the help she has received from the people of Oklahoma City,” said Julie Nelson, a woman helping a Ukrainian family at the abroad via Air BnB.

The Oklahoma standard. Nelson and her husband, live up to that hype by using Air BnB to donate to a Ukrainian family a few miles from the capital city of kyiv.

“We just felt helpless, like we wanted to do something and didn’t know what to do,” Nelson said.

The couple hosted an Air BnB in Oklahoma City for three years and eventually reached out and got their hands on a woman named Siri. Nelson said the woman hosts an Air BnB in Ukraine and has at least 10 people living in her home, including her one-year-old child. So they decided to book Air BnB for Siri to help her earn money.

“My husband had read that the Airbnb community was making reservations there to help them retain income and provide shelter for people,” Nelson said. “I contacted her and told her what to price it for, for a day, and then reserved the space for this donation.”

Siri sent photos of what the donations did for them.

“She chose to take donations and reservations that we were making and buy things for other people in the village,” Nelson said.

However, as the war rages on, Nelson said the family struggled to leave at first. As a mother herself, she said she felt the pain of family overseas.

“It’s very sad and just heartbreaking,” she said. “I have tears in my eyes.”

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Made possible by donations from Oklahomans.

With the help she received from Oklahomans, Nelson quoted Siri’s messages to hold back tears. Even just a little seems to have come a long way.

“Your support is very inspiring and has made it possible for me to help others in need. Thank you. I finally smiled again for the first time these days,” Nelson said, citing first the messages from Siri.

“It feels good to be part of this community,” Nelson added.

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The fruits of the kindness of Oklahomans in Ukraine.

Air BnB asks guests to verify their identity with government ID through their site. Nelson said Siri has also received several great reviews on her Air BnB from verified people. It made her feel comfortable enough to donate. Nelson also said Siri never asked for money. Nelson’s friends have also gotten involved and if desired, Nelson said she can be reached at her email address, [email protected].

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