RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE

Utah woman shelters fleeing Ukrainians at her castle in Italy

Apr 22, 2022, 6:30 PM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 1:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began almost 2 months ago. About 50 of those refugees have found shelter and safety with a Utah native who now calls Italy her home.

Once Stefanie Grassley heard about the Russian invasion in February, she knew she had to do something.

Stefanie Grassley grew up in Springville and now lives in an Italian castle with her husband.

“We have about 27 rooms. We grow hemp, we have olive trees, one hundred beehives,” Grassley explained.

Her home is usually used as a wedding venue or corporate retreat but now it has become a sanctuary for Ukrainians fleeing the war.

“We have about 35,” she said. “They thought it wouldn’t last even over a few days or weeks.”

More than 50 refugees have stayed with her so far.

“Normally there is nowhere to cook but we bought hot plates and kitchen supplies,” Grassley said.

She has gotten to know the families who are always offering her dinner. They’ve become a lot of help for her in the gardens where they’ve also had time to bond.

Grassley said, “They’re always like ‘sit down have a glass of wine!’ So, it’s uh.. always like a party here.”

She called it a way to give back and help change lives. “Just making the best of the situation they’re in.”

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Utah woman shelters fleeing Ukrainians at her castle in Italy