BEXLEY, Ohio (WCMH) – As the Russian invasion in Ukraine continues, many in central Ohio are trying to learn more about what exactly is happening and how they can help.

Three eastern European experts led a discussion in Bexley Wednesday, trying to educate central Ohioans, raise awareness, and hope the awareness eventually leads to help.

One week after the invasion began, Marianna Klochko still has family living just outside Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city.

“They’re hearing the shelling all the time and there are a few homes around them that got hit, so they’re not sleeping, and they cannot turn on the lights,” Klochko said.

They can’t turn on the light because they worry it will make them a target. In addition to the fear of violence, Klochko said her loved ones are running out of food.

“The stores are empty and no one can deliver anything because Russia continues to bomb,” she said.

Klochko is an Ohio State University professor. During the last seven days, she’s been a part of discussions and events at the university and spoke at a demonstration at the Ohio Statehouse over the weekend. On Wednesday night, she was part of a conversation at the Bexley Public Library.

“We are Americans and America stands for freedom and we all know freedom is not free, so we should do everything possible that we can do to help Ukraine,” she said.

The discussion Wednesday was a chance for community members to ask the panel questions. The panel also talked about the history of the region and the risk of a humanitarian crisis as Ukrainians try to escape to neighboring countries.

“There are 30-hour wait lines,” said Mykyta Tyschenko. “There’s very little provision, there’s very little place to stay.”

Klochko is doing everything she can from so far away and hopes events like Wednesday’s discussion help raise awareness.

“It’s important not to let the country that stands for freedom and democracy, not to fall down,” she said.

For ways you can help Ukraine, click here.