SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City woman who calls Ukraine home says she’s received overwhelming community support to help send supplies to Ukrainian citizen volunteers.
“I’ve always been proud to be a Ukrainian," said Vlada Yaremenko. "But during times like these, you see how much people love our country and how much they’d like to protect it."
Yaremenko has lived in the United States for the last 12 years, but still calls Ukraine home. That’s why she is doing everything she can to help over 5,000 miles away.
“There’s a lot of volunteers who would like to protect the city, but there is not enough supplies,” she said.
Yaremenko has been working to raise funds to send back to friends in her home country who are personally buying supplies and hand-delivering them to the "block posts," or as we know them, checkpoints.
“When I told my friend we already had $3,000, he was like, 'I almost fell out of bed. I thought you’d maybe raise 1,000 or something,'" Yaremenko said. "Everyone in the community — elderly, women, children — everyone is helping."
But more supplies are needed, and not just for those who want to help defend Ukraine.
“Today we had 400 kids come in without parents from [a city] that’s been bombed really hard right now,” said Yaremenko.
While her family is safe for now, she does have loved ones close to war-torn areas.
“I’ve talked to them. They’ve been hit hard, they have to sit in bunkers, they come out to the apartment to eat and go back to the bunker. It’s 21st century and this is happening, in the middle of Europe, and it is basically terrorism,” said Yaremenko.
She said she is grateful to have support for her country and plans to help as many people as she can from here in the states.
“The best part is being able to tell the people in Ukraine what we are doing and how people here want to help them,” said Yaremenko.
She was able to raise $7,000 in just 24 hours, and she sent it to her friends immediately so they could get what they need before their city is under attack.
Yaremenko says everyone is pitching in, from coworkers to friends and family. Some friends from school are even doing concerts to help raise money.
If you want to help donate, you can find Yaremenko on Paypal under the username @vyar. She also has Venmo: Vlada-Yaremenko (Last four digits of phone number: 8578).