Ukraine rally gives residents real-time opportunities to send aidMar 29, 2022 09:22PM ● By Deb Hafner
Galyna Flohr and Oksana Riley, Utah residents from Ukraine, hold a sign to support Balance Insider, a group that delivers free groceries to families in Kiev, Ukraine. (Deb Hafner/City Journals)
By Deb Hafner | [email protected]
On Saturday, March 26, the cities of Holladay and Millcreek, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee, hosted a community rally to support civilians in war-torn Ukraine.
With the familiar, folksy sounds of local band Winterwood emanating from the gazebo in Holladay City Park, surrounded by yellow and blue flags rustling in the breeze, local residents joined the mayors of Holladay and Millcreek as well as representatives from several nonprofit organizations, learning about ways to send aid to Ukraine.
The International Rescue Committee, Utah Ukrainian Association and Balance Insider were on hand to answer questions about donations and how aid is getting to Ukraine and the surrounding countries who are supporting civilians fleeing conflict.
Local residents were able to make donations and meet members of the organizations, many of whom had first-hand stories about families struggling to survive.
Holladay Mayor Rob Dahle and Millcreek Mayor Jeff Silvestrini circulated, speaking to residents about ongoing efforts to help in Ukraine and what can be done from their own cities. “It’s crushing to me we are having this conflict in 2022, '' Silvestrini said. “We aren’t going to lose focus on this.”
Katy Brooksby, from Holladay, was moved by the joint-city effort to aid Ukraine, saying “it’s overwhelming that we can participate, it’s so touching.” Brooksby was moved to tears hearing stories from Ukraine emigrants, and was grateful to have the opportunity to make a donation that goes directly to support Ukraine.
“You can do things that matter,” said Dahle, hoping that residents will feel relief when they learn about the different organizations and ways to support the people of Ukraine. “There is a tremendous amount of aid needed,” he said, adding that the power of community coming together will make a difference.
The two cities partnered with the International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit that focuses on helping people affected by humanitarian crises. IRC was accepting donations that will go directly to efforts to aid civilians in Ukraine with food, medical care and emergency support.
The IRC is currently working in Poland aiding displaced Ukrainian families.
Galyna Flohr, from Mykolaiv, Ukraine, moved to Sandy twelve years ago. She is raising money for Balance Insider, a group that delivers free groceries to families and the elderly who don’t have access to food in Kiev, Ukraine.
“Right now, it is most important that everybody talk about Ukraine,” said Flohr. Her father is in Ukraine, and it is difficult for Flohr, speaking to him only sporadically, not knowing if the phone connection will be working or his home destroyed.
Representatives from the Utah Ukrainian Association handed out blue and yellow ribbons with which to decorate homes as a show of support to the Ukrainian people. Residents had the opportunity to learn about and sign a petition seeking permission for Ukranians to join their families stateside.
“We are very grateful to the IRC for all they are doing,” said Catherine Stokes, a volunteer with the UUA who is helping with the upcoming UUA Hope and Healing Day for Ukrainians living in Utah.
If you missed the rally and would like to learn about events, volunteer opportunities or ways to donate, the International Rescue Committee continues to take donations at rescue.org/donate. You can also visit the Utah Ukrainian Association at utahukrainians.org. Galyna Flohr is using venmo @Galyna-Flohr to send money directly to Balance Insider.