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As Putin's invasion ramps up, relief efforts for refugees increase across Baltimore

Posted at 6:49 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 18:49:58-05

BALTIMORE — As Putin’s invasion of Ukraine escalates, so are the efforts to aid refugees.

They aren’t armed with guns, bombs or missiles but make no mistake, these ladies are fighting.

“Usually this is our fundraiser for our church but the situation that’s happening now in Ukraine, this going to be going to support the troops. We are going to be baking this and eventually we’re going to be selling,” said Stefanai Gerthak-Deo.

Parishioners at St. Michael’s Ukrainian Church are selling holubtsi and perogies, traditional Ukrainian dishes.

It's for their families back home trying to catch their breath and regroup for the next day as the Russian military targets building after building, city after city.

One of the members cooks but worries for her sister’s safety in the city of Lviv.

She says it's one of the few ways she can ensure they get the support they desperately need right now.

“You never know. Maybe they wont have electricity. You don’t know what he’ll be doing tomorrow,” said Gerthak-Deo.

Ola Kulnich carries that same burden.

“I feel sorry for all of the people leaving their homeland not knowing what’s awaiting them on the other side,” said Kulnich.

As their work continues, some parishioners can’t help but get overwhelmed with what they’re able to accomplish together.

“People are here and they’re taking time off work. They’re taking time off of whatever they’re doing. They come in here. Some come for two hours, Some come for the whole day, so we have a parade of people in and out to help,” said one parishioner.

“Yeah I wanna cry. I’m getting emotional now. Whenever you see the good in people it just fortifies yourself,” he continued.

Members of the church are keeping their hope in clear focus that Ukraine will win in the end.

“It’ll be hard, really hard but we’re strong and our spirit is strong too,” said Gercthak-Deo.