Ukrainian restaurant owners from Troy try to bring their daughter, son and grandchild to the United States | Local
Post-Star Staff Report
GLENS FALLS – Aledin Kamel was serving kielbasa and other Ukrainian delicacies at the Winter Meltdown Spicy Food Festival on Saturday at The Shirt Factory.
However, Kamel, owner of My Dacha Slavonian & European Café in Troy, was also thinking of his daughter Alina, 31, son Aleks, 15, and granddaughter Irena, 6, who fled Ukraine. with a suitcase in Poland and are trying to get to the United States.
The Russian invasion changed everything, according to Kamel.
“It’s very wrong. It’s crazy,” he said.
The family had recently applied for a visa and were refused, according to friend Mary Krasnopolski, from Watervliet, who tried to help the family.
Krasnopolski is the daughter of Polish immigrants, so she feels a special kinship with the family.
“The paperwork is really overwhelming for them – for both of them. The language barrier doesn’t help. I help where I can. We are hopeful,” he said.
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Kamel and his wife Nataliya have had the business for seven years between Albany and now Troy and have been coming to sell their food at events at The Shirt Factory for about four years.
Shirt Factory owner Eric Unkauf also tried to help. He said he sent documents to U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik’s office, R-Schuylerville, in hopes of speeding up the process after the visa was denied on Thursday.
“Hopefully we will get some answers and fix the problem,” Unkauf said.
Alina was a pharmacist but lost her job after the invasion. Alina, Aleks and Irena currently live in a house in Poland and the embassy is six hours away by bus.
A GoFund Me page was set up to pay for travel expenses and has raised more than $10,000 to date, according to Krasnopolski.