Cookie sales benefit Ukraine | News, Sports, Jobs
COLUMBIANA — While filling out the year-end paperwork for her business, Sweet Temptations Bakery owner Kathy Reash noticed an eye-catching detail about her custom Tree of Life cookie cutter order. Hidden in her Etsy order details, Reash discovered that Elena Sirchenko, owner of CustomMadeStamp, was located in Chernihiv, Ukraine.
Reash contacted Sirchenko through Etsy and asked if she was okay after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Sirchenko informed Reash that she had left Ukraine early in the morning on February 24 upon hearing shelling and shelling in her town.
“We left all our equipment, our apartment, our city” she says. “Our past ordinary lives are destroyed.”
Alisha Nicole Schwartz, manager of Generations Cafe, is always looking for ways to improve the world. When Reash approached Schwartz to sell sunflower-themed cookies for $5 apiece, she quickly agreed.
“I was looking to do something that could help the world. When she mentioned it, I thought it was a great idea. says Schwartz.
Schwartz believes that small gestures change the world and using his livelihood to do so is a privilege. The cookies sold out quickly and she sees a positive response from the community.
“Once people have seen that, it’s a gift for a specific family that we have that connection with people buying multiple,” she says.
Cookies can be purchased inside Generations Cafe. Additional donations can be made by contacting Reash at 330-853-4555. Profits from the cookies go to Sirchenko’s family. People can also donate by purchasing digital artwork through Sirchenko’s Etsy store. Reash also held small information sessions at Grace Church Columbiana.
“She said she was fine and everything was fine. After a few days he started spinning. They heard the bombs going off and the shelling going around. So they grabbed some clothes, just what they could » Reash explained. “She grabbed some documents they needed and got in the car and drove to Slovakia.”
Most of Sirchenko’s friends went to Poland while Sirchenko fled to Slovakia at dusk with her husband, Ivan, and children. Her daughters, Vera, 7, and Katyusha, 2, as well as Vladimir, 11 months, could not wait the necessary time to enter Poland.
“We were driving on mined roads, we saw wrecked cars on the side of the road, we saw fires and explosions, it’s very scary. I hugged the child to me and prayed because I thought every second would be the last. she remembers.
Once across the Slovakian border, Vera suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. She refused to leave the house. The panic attacks caused Vera crippling pain. After seeing a psychologist combined with a move to a small village in Slovakia where Sirchenko and his children take frequent bike rides, his daughter’s fear begins to fade.
Ukraine and its many traditions miss Sirchenko. She describes Ukraine as her “Mother land” giving her all she has of the perfect childhood, traditions, education and family.
Sirchenko evokes summers by the sea, nature walks in the forest and along lakes, and skiing in the mountains. She seeks to continue sharing the fairy tales, songs, poems and books of her heritage with her children. She identifies with its rich culture and Kievan Rus history.
“Our city is very beautiful and comfortable,” she says. “Ukraine is my heart.”
Easter has proven difficult for Sirchenko’s family this year. Easter is not about gifts but about family and friends. This year, families and friends have been divided. Families did not gather around large tables with friends after attending church services. Playing “white ball” will be put on hold as many families have been split up. Parks where families held barbecues and nature walks were destroyed by the shelling. There was no tradition “Paska” in the oven or “Pysanka” decorated in Ukraine.
“Our cities are bombed. People are dying. We are desperate, she says. “It’s like a terrible nightmare.”
Sirchenko wants the war to end. She and her family face the uncertain reality of long-term conflict. She thinks the threat to life will be long and fears for the lives of her children. She wants to protect her children from the horrors of war.
“No one in Ukraine understands why the Russian army attacked us. Why are they laughing at us? There is no reason. It’s just a genocide of our people. she lamented.
Temporary protection has been granted to Ukrainian refugees by Member States. Fleeing Ukrainians have the right to travel within the Union for 90 days within a 180-day period. Sirchenko explained that his family had been in Slovakia for 30 days.
Elena and Ivan appreciate the similarities between them and the Slovaks. Sirchenko points out our similarities in character, kindness and language.
“We greet each other in the street and we smile” she says. “It is very beautiful here, nature is an atmosphere of forests, mountains, fields, beautiful gardens and houses.”
“We are moving away from the tremors we have experienced so far,” she says. Sirchenko said his family was still worried.
Sirchenko is grateful for the funds she has used to revive her Etsy business, help other families and contribute to humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
Reash asks people to write letters to local lawmakers urging the United States to accept refugees from Ukraine in an effort to sponsor the Sirchenko family.
“I won’t give up until we get him here” Reash said.