Fundraising to cover food, medical aid and more
The spirit of Ukraine graced downtown Santa Barbara Saturday with dancing, music and food that represented the nation.
First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Santa Barbara sold Ukrainian poppy seed cookies, muffins and more on State Street, near the intersection with De la Guerra, while women with World Dance for Humanity performed to Ukrainian music. In front of the dancers was a jar for donations for aid to Ukraine.
At one point, boys on bicycles rode by and yelled, “Stop Putin!”
“That’s right,” a nearby woman told them, standing a few feet from a sign with the same call to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin and the invasion he launched one month ago of Ukraine.
Proceeds from the bake sale and dancing will go toward food, first aid, essentials such as toothpaste and candies and cookies for kids, Gregory Lyutko, a Ukrainian who lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and two children, told the News-Press.
“We’ve raised $70,000-plus. We made it all in one month,” he said about the church’s efforts.
“We send the money to Germany, and it goes on to Poland,” Mr. Lyutko said. “It’s cheaper and faster to get the food (and supplies) over there than to deliver it from the United States.”
As the women danced behind him, Mr. Lyutko said he hoped Saturday’s fundraising would add significantly to the amount of money for aid. “Approximately a few thousand dollars would be great.”
He praised World Humanity for Dance for its consistent support of Ukraine. “They stand together with Ukraine all the time. We love it.”
Mr. Lyutko, who moved to Santa Barbara in 1991, has two brothers and two sisters in Ukraine, where the Russian invasion was in its 31st day Saturday.
Mr. Lyutko said his siblings are in western Ukraine but don’t want to leave their country.
During a speech Saturday in Poland, President Joe Biden said President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” Afterward, the White House said the speech wasn’t a direct call to change the Russian regime.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kulebra met with U.S. officials in Poland and said afterward that the U.S. promised there would be more defense support for Ukraine.
And on Saturday, Russian missiles struck a fuel storage facility and a military infrastructure, both in Lviv, where the mayor called for air defense of Ukraine. No deaths were reported.email: email@example.com