In honor of the Aug. 24 Ukrainian independence day, Euro Foods Bakery & Cafe in West Ashley is hosting a celebration Aug. 28 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Meanwhile in Ukraine, citizens brace for potential attacks from Russian troops today as the country celebrates 31 years of independence from Russia.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the country today, saying: “Every day is a new day not to give up,” The New York Times reported.
“If you care for Ukraine, you can just come by Euro Foods and show your love and support,” said cafe co-owner Maka Aptsiauri, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Republic of Georgia in 1999. Aptsiauri’s husband, Ukrainian immigrant Aleksandr Pavlichenko, has family in the war torn country, and every day the couple contacts them to make sure they are surviving.
U.S. security assistance officials pledged to send $3 billion in aid to Ukraine, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. The funds will be used for training and equipping Ukrainian military forces for the years of war ahead, which marks a shift in the U.S. security assistance strategy to a long-term plan.
Euro Foods’ Ukrainian independence day celebration will include food and refreshments, a moment of silence, the playing of a Ukrainian hymn and a chance to donate to CHS4 Ukraine, a nonprofit Aptsiauri started with local partners.
“This little gathering will give our community a chance to speak up and share their feelings about what’s going on in the Ukraine,” Aptsiauri told City Paper. “I think it’s going to be something very special.”
Aptsiauri looks forward to drawing people’s attention to the mural created by local visual artist Amanda Williams with Traveling Canvas earlier this month. The idea came after the war started and Euro Foods became a hub for people to stop by and show their support for Ukraine and drop off donations. Aptsiauri wanted to have a noticeable symbol for people to recognize.
The mural tells a story of transitioning from war to peace, Williams said.
“The sunflower fields with the blue skies on the left are symbolic of the Ukraine,” Williams told City Paper. “There’s so many sunflower fields there, and that represents the peaceful times. The mural transitions across the flag. The flag starts off put together and slowly unravels. You can also see that transition in the sky, [which] starts off sunny and transitions to a really dark gray, gloomy sky. The hands that are sewing the flag back together are representative of trying to put things back together to slowly rebuild the country.”
The team behind CHS4 Ukraine said they will continue to do all they can to raise awareness about the help still required by Ukrainian citizens.
“War is still ongoing — nothing has changed,” Aptsiauri said. “If you can help, you are more than welcome to make any donation. No donation is too small.”
Local activist Jamie Price will also host a one-night charitable event Aug. 29 from 6-9 p.m. at Barsa Tapas Lounge & Bar on King Street. Admission is $100 at the door. The event will include live music, complimentary cocktails and small bites, a silent auction and guest speaker. All of the proceeds from the admission price will go towards funding equipment, building supplies and other aid on the ground in the Ukraine.
If you want to support the Ukrainian community, call CHS4 Ukraine at (843) 303-4065 or get involved with Charleston-based efforts and international charitable operations. Here is a short list of other organizations offering help:
North Charleston-based nonprofit Water Mission is providing safe water and proper sanitation to refugees.
UNICEF USA is supporting health, nutrition, HIV prevention, education, water, sanitation and more.
Doctors Without Borders is involved in a range of activities with local volunteers, organizations, health care professionals and authorities to aid in travel to and from health care facilities.
Voices of Children is a Ukraine-based Charitable Foundation helping to provide mental health support to children.
The American Red Cross is supporting the work of the Ukrainian Red Cross however possible.
The International Medical Corps, a global nonprofit, has been delivering primary health care and mental health services in Eastern Ukraine for nearly a decade. It’s now raising funds to expand those services.
To support the Ukrainian military directly, the National Bank of Ukraine has established a special donation account specifically to support troops and equipment purchases. You can donate by visiting chscp.co/ukrainian-military.
This list is not exhaustive, as many other organizations are helping families caught in the conflict.
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