Ukrainian family on Disney vacation at time of Russian invasion finds community support

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A Ukrainian mother and her children came to central Florida for a Disney vacation, but now can’t go home because of the war.

Iryna Lyubobetska’s husband flew back to Ukraine to fight, but she and her children stayed in the U.S., unsure of what would happen next after Russia invaded Ukraine.


Lyubobetska said she’s waiting to apply for temporary protected status and living day to day. Through the kindness of strangers, she’s getting by.

She’s staying with a Windermere family that a friend connected her with on Facebook.

READ: Central Florida woman awaiting updates on family in Ukraine

Her children are now on their second day of school in Orange County Public Schools.

Then there’s people like Amy Pelletier, who heard about Lyubobetska through her roommate.

READ: Brevard County nonprofit working to get water purifiers to Ukraine

“He came home and told me the kids needed clothing, so we started collecting clothing,” Pelletier said.

She reached out to a couple’s group she is a part of to get more people involved.

READ: Central Florida-based team evacuates thousands from Ukraine

“I can’t fathom what it must be like to be going through this,” Pelletier said.

Community members looking to help the family are able to make donations through PayPal to the email address amyzingtravel@gmail.com.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.